One night at the Ace. Two Bicycles as transportation. Nine years of marriage. Fifteen years since the day we met. One record player in the room and twelve albums in the drawer. Twenty-three faces stenciled on the wall in yellow, orange and green. Two bathrobes to wear and one reindeer-elk on the bed. One Leonard Cohen song written in the hall and six old books stacked together, posing as night stands. Four happy hour plates at Luk Lac. One view of the city at Departure and several dreams of flying across the river. Twelve city blocks to walk, one pair of glasses on Joe’s face and three homeless men asking for change. Two raw oysters at Little Bird and an olive oil cake at Clyde Common. One Sunday edition of the New York Times spread out across the room. Two small plates of breakfast and two cups of coffee. Grey walls, windows looking out onto the city of books and terrariums filled with airplants.
One hundred lifetimes ago that I met Joe: I was nineteen and read a lot of magical realism. He was twenty-one and worked as a bartender at a Greek restaurant. He decided he loved me in spite of my oversized overalls with calico patches and my obsession with crafting mix tapes. And I decided that I loved him and his old Jimmy Cliff albums and the way he wore a silver tiger-stone ring on his middle finger. He made me smoothies with flax seeds and strawberries; he had a futon bed and a Ficus plant. The walls of his room were painted gold and he wore a Guatemalan cap when he played the dijeredoo. He understood my need to recite Walt Whitman and I understood his need to watch the planets move around in the night sky.
When we woke up in the hotel-light-morning and realized that we were still in the room with the faces on the wall, we decided that we should just try to live permanently at the Ace. Then we remembered that we had children, so we ultimately decided against it. We also remembered that we had ridden our bikes to our stay-cation, and it was raining, so instead of going home, I put on a Boy George record and Joe put on a plaid flannel and we took pictures. And then after jumping on the bed nine times to celebrate nine years, we wondered why the Portlandia writers hadn’t contacted us yet. When we walked out of the room and locked it with the golden key, we both cried a few tears in the shape of birds, in part because we were sad to leave the Ace, but mostly just because Joe’s extra-long cargo bike wouldn’t fit into the elevator.