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Hello Seattle, I am a mountaineer

In the hills and highlands
I fall asleep in hospital parking lots
And awake in your mouth

Hello Seattle, I am a manta ray
Deep beneath the blue waves
I’ll crawl the sandy bottom of Puget Sound
And construct a summer home


-Hello Seattle, Owl City

I can picture it perfectly in my mind’s eye: I’m in the Food Court in Seattle. It’s not as boring as it sounds. Actually, it’s quite the opposite: It’s full of vibrancy and color, light and life. There’s a multitude of people in the vast expanse. I think a World’s Fair was held here once or twice, huge murals depict a million cultural scenes of the life and people of Seattle.

What would I like to eat? Pizza, they make some of the best kind here. What should I drink? An Orange Julius, Dad used to have it all the time when he was growing up. Dad grew up in Bellevue, just above Seattle.

It is good. An Orange Julius is creamy and milky and tastes like oranges. Dad and Ian have one too; I think Mom and I share. Ian and I share a slice of pizza, Dad says to eat as much as we want and give him the leftovers. He always says that. I save a bit of the crust and a bit of the cheesy part- the perfect combination of flavors.

It’s winter, close to Christmas. The train goes round and under and over a miniature village of porcelain buildings surrounded by fleecy snow. It’s a Christmas train, like the kind you find under the Christmas tree.

The glass elevator in the Food Court goes up and down, up and down. The musicians play, and couples dance on the floor- old couples and young, a gentle waltz. Blues are played next, or perhaps jazz. The couples meander back into the crowd or to the iron-rimmed tables and chairs like the ones we’re seated at.

The children get out the plastic cars and buses once more, taking the dance floor for their own. They pretend to drive as they propel themselves with their feet. A near-crash. I grimace. But the two children are smiling.

I wouldn’t mind driving one of those plastic cars, but I don’t think I’d fit. I wouldn’t mind dancing. There’s a young couple that just finished the waltz, they are holding hands if I remember correctly. Perhaps I clasp mine together in my lap, hidden beneath the table; I’m not sure, I can’t remember.

I look around. There’s a railing where the fake forest waits below. It’s not half bad, though it can’t compare to a mountain forest. There’s the taffy factory–stretch, wrap, fold, stretch. The pink taffy is drawn over and over between metal rods.

There are the sounds of a million voices, a gentle hum of soothing and never-ending noise. Snatches of conversation. A wide variety of people. Am I the only one in faded jeans and an old hoody that says Jesus Savior?

I love the city, but I think I am a country girl at heart. Still, I love vibrant places. Always have, always will.