The phone rings. A rather heavily-accented voice asks me how I'm doing tonight. "Fine..." I answering, wondering who the devil it is. "Please tell me your first name only and your birthdate." "Um, who is this?" "This is Miss Cleo." Ah. The phone psychic who apparantly has just been pulled from the air with her television commercials for fraud (what? A phone psychic that's a fraud? Scandalous!). I politely declined and hung up. Then I called my mom to entertain her with this last vignette in the life of Stephie. She was appropriately amused.
She then proceeded to ask me a few questions that were inspired by something she'd found in a box of cards etc. from my father's funeral. Neither of us had looked through that box since before I moved to Oregon, where we both are now. She asked me if, in the last three years, I'd ever had any doubts about moving out here. Of all the places we could've gone, of all the schools I could've gone to, that we'd chosen Portland. I told her that of course I had, part of me still wondered what had drawn me here when there was no good, clear reason to come here. She said that she'd been thinking about the same thing when she'd found the little program-like thing that we'd printed up for Daddy's funeral, with his name and dates of birth and death and a poem written by my aunt about him printed inside. On the outside was a picture that we'd chosen of the various "pretty pictures" the funeral home had to offer. You know, woods, streams, mountains...Ma asked me if I remembered which one we'd chosen. "Hang on, I think I have it in my jewelery box, actually," I said, pulling out the seldom-used drawer on my little jewelery chest and opening up the small pamphlet thing.
Mount Hood. That was what we'd chosen. The picture on the front was of Mount Hood on a beautifully clear day, with the mountain reflected in a lake in the foreground. None of us had really even heard of Mount Hood before moving to Portland, where it dominates the landscape (when the clouds don't obstruct the view). I started laughing and crying at the same time, thinking, "Well, maybe we're in the right place after all." Oregon's been the one place I've felt truly at home in my entire life, and getting here'd never really made sense before. I just knew it was where I wanted to go, for no good reason.