Tatiana beckoned me across the street. I had been playing harmonica, enjoying the late day sunshine. She asked me to play and snapped along as accompaniment. She was minding her friend’s shop while the owner recovered from cancer.
Tatiana was originally from the Ukraine. She had fallen in love with a trucker and ended up in America via several countries in Western Europe. On a bike trip from Montana to California, they had stayed at the campground at the local State Park – ”Site B32”, she repeated several times – and she had told her husband that she would live in Brookings one day. When they split up, she headed straight here.
I hung out at a local cafe for a few hours, chatting with the owner, Sara, and some of the locals. Sara’s husband, Chris, was about to take over ownership of the local TV station; he took me downstairs to film my story. Afterward, he told me his own thrilling story of love and redemption, how he had righted his own life after spending several years in prison for a bad adolescent decision. We chatted earnestly as afternoon rolled into night, considering all the different ways to express love. Cody, a recent arrival to Brookings, volunteered to take me in for the night, and together we wandered into the quiet night, out to the rocky promotory behind an industrial site. We stood under the stars, watching the waves break on the rocks. I had had fun in Oregon and learned a lot, but my heart was already ready for a new chapter: next stop, California.