“Are you sure you’re not gonna need my help a little longer?”

She says, yes, she thinks she can handle it fine alone, now.

“Oh, okay.” I try not to cry. I think about Pine State Biscuits. Screen Door on Burnside. The turkey sandwich at Meat Cheese Bread–a weep worthy turkey so nummy, I bought the shirt.

I’ve been here nearly three weeks. Cassie feels like she’s ready for me to go home after graduation this weekend. I shouldn’t complain, I’ve had the chance to be Anthony Bourdain.

John’s coming to Portland today for the ceremony tomorrow and I need him to bring me larger clothes.

My heart and tummy say to Portland, “You complete me.”

There’s a YouTube that Cassie and I recite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pulZ3jgLM6o It’s become our soundtrack after a meal. Well, mostly mine. The photo attached is my half eaten pizza at Apizza Scholls. I sat at the bar and ate half a pizza. Alone and under my garlic breath, I recited, “Pickle chips. Peanut butttur and waisins…Ugggh, I never gonna eat dat much food again…”

But of course I did; I do.

This is not my first trip around the block in Portland, but it’s been my first respectable tour of the intense food culture here.

This place is like no where else. The port-a-potties strategically placed throughout the city are called “Honey Pots.” Think about that.

The food is so good here it eventually becomes honey.

I know now to bus my own tables, I don’t get lost anymore, I’ve gone without mascara, I fit in here. I don’t want to say it was all worth Cassie’s two ankle surgeries. I don’t want to say that.

We go to her post op check-up today. The plan is she’ll get her current cast and stitches removed and get a fancy boot to go with her cap and gown. Tomorrow she’ll roll across the platform and receive her Masters in Social Work diploma for which she’s worked so well and so hard, and I will once again be astounded by the woman she is.

Peanut butttur and waisins tummy. Peanut butttur and waisins heart.