The restaurant where I used to work sat on the corner of 7th and Union in downtown Seattle. This can be a fairly busy corner, particularly at rush hour, and at certain times of year a kind of wind tunnel forms through office towers and hotels, gusting west toward Puget Sound, inverting umbrellas and ruining hairdos. One afternoon, leaving the restaurant after a long lunch shift, I watched the following drama unfold: A delivery truck was parked in front of the restaurant. The deliveryman stood outside the cab of his truck with a clipboard, adding the final details to an invoice. Beyond where his truck was parked, traffic flowed ceaselessly west along Union, the wind gusting and gusting, all of it, the wind and the cars, moving as one down the hill away from us to where I could see a small blue slice of the Sound.
His invoice complete, the deliveryman clicked his pen and tucked it in his shirt, lifted the brace on his clipboard—exactly as the wind gusted again, snatching the paper as if it been attached to fishing wire. The invoice sailed like a kite over the truck and out above the cars, above a city bus. Miraculously, the invoice remained aloft, suspended on the wind over the river of traffic. The invoice did not drop down, it did not fly up—it merely traveled with the cars and trucks and buses, dancing above and with them as if it had finally found its purpose.
I watched as the deliveryman began his chase. I watched him running west down Union, trying to keep pace with the invoice, measuring a possible dash into traffic, even reaching out helplessly, as if he might summon it back with kindness. The invoice, meanwhile, continued its westward flight. Soon both deliveryman and invoice were lost to my view. I don’t know how far and for how long the deliveryman kept up his chase. I don’t know at what point he stopped running and forgave the paper for being so light and the wind for being so strong.
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