i had the first “falling woman” nightmare that night. it was an amalgam of her death and 9/11, thanks to kurt’s story. the buildings were already on fire and the woman was standing at the edge of the roof, surrounded by flames. she wasn’t the suicide woman, though, she was kelsey, though she felt like the suicide woman, if that makes any sense. i never saw the suicide woman’s face so perhaps i was just projecting. she was at the top of the world trade center with the smoke and flames and i was the security guard, and i was running toward her but my feet were like molasses, i just kept trudging forward but gaining no momentum. i never even got near her. then the bottom gave out from under me as the building collapsed, and at the same time kelsey fell backwards, and i was running alone in the air like wile e coyote before he realizes he’s not on the earth. i looked down at the plumes of dust and debris and smoke billowing out over the city of new york. then i started falling, and that’s when i woke up.
i’ve spent roughly the entirety of my life feeling like i’m not worth a woman’s time. i think this stemmed from grade school, when i not-so-gradually ballooned into a chubby kid before growing six inches over a summer between seventh and eighth grade. my body was preparing me for my growth spurt but in that time i somehow got the sense that women weren’t attracted to me. i wish i could pinpoint how that result came about and i also wish i could travel back in time to tell my younger self that i’m actually not a bad looking dude. somehow, my self-esteem was whacked in the knees very early on in my life, leaving me rushing to catch up with all the other, more confident men.
kelsey was the second girl i met in portland. the first will probably never know how much she changed my life here. i moved here after graduating from boise state. i was looking for a new place to hang my hat; i had spent my entire life in boise up until that moment. kurt had moved here a year before me, as he did not take an extra year to graduate, and so after i did he offered to pick me up and move me out there. i took him up on it.