When I started my temp job at the title insurance company, I had no idea that it would be the job that would eventually carry me, all of my material posessions in tow, to New York a newly broken man. It was just another in the endless series of temp jobs that I was taking at the time to pay my $350 a month rent in the enormous Victorian house up on Capital Hill. I was in stasis, day-by-daying life.

So I took the $7 an hour job running the microfilm machines that contained all of the lease information for every vacant lot in Seattle, paging endlessly through blue-lit records of houses and homes, my hair falling out in clumps onto the table as I made endless copies of title deeds, easements and terms of use. I was working under the supervision of a nepotism beneficiary, the son of the company's accountants, an oily Greek teenager whose preoccupation with muscle cars and getting laid provided in me a chance to shine in comparison.

Eventually, they hired me on full-time and I began to be absorbed by office politics. James, the Greek, was constantly on the prowl of the women in the office, and one of his wandering eyes was never far from Lisa, a statuesque blonde in her early 30s who ran one of the other departments. I was constantly treated to his lewd descriptions of her anatomy, along with other girls in the office. I unsuccessfully tried to romance a receptionist who was only there for three days. Nothing much happened.

I got the Greek kid fired by a well-timed nervous breakdown and moved into his position, managing a crew of temps with a gentle hand while being trained in the ins and outs of real estate law. I was, if not happy, at least stable. I got to know the people in the company a little better.

We went to a party for a woman who was leaving, me sneaking barely underage into another bar, drinking and eating hot wings, thinking about when I was going to tell everybody at the company that I had decided to move to New York, had saved $10,000 to do so, was leaving in mid-August. My secret kept me sane, kept me looking forward. Lisa offered to drive me home.

I was living at my Mom's house for my last month in town, sleeping in her guest bed, biding time until I stepped on the plane and moved across the country. She was out of town along with her boyfriend, up at the cabin she was building in the mountains to the East. Lisa drove me home. We stopped off to get a 6-pack; she went in and bought while I waited out in the car. I wasn't even twenty-one.

We went back to my Mom's house and sat in the back yard, in wooden deck chairs on the patio, our shoes off, drinking beers under the stars. Somehow our legs ended up intertwined, facing each other in a bizarre, subtle modern dance.

I pushed against her feet with mine, and her chair fell over against the deck, the slats in the back snapping in half under her. I jumped up out of my chair, helping her up, and our faces met in a crash of drunken, repressed lust. We stood there, in my mother's back yard, making out in the warm summer night, my brain slowly revolving.

We went inside.

I hadn't had sex for several years, and it was so strange, having this woman in bed with me, in the cold, lonely depths of my old house, naked, this woman older than me by so many years. It was stramge, short, and unexpected. And then she put on her clothes and went home.

What had just happened? I'd just had sex. I'd just had sex with a woman twelve years my senior. My mind boggled at the utter ridiculousness of the situation. Eventually, I fell asleep.

Weekends and weekday nights, I would steal off to see her, our secret hidden from everybody at the company. Most of the men there harbored some secret desire for her, she was the alpha-female of the office, and when they would try to calculate their chances with her I would have to remain silent, a bizarre combination of jubilation and dread burning in my chest. We made it clear to each other, over and over, that this was just about sex, just about two people fucking. No emotional committment whatsoever.

And so we spent a month like that, our little illicitness going unnoticed, sneaking in sex, me making excuses to my mother for where I was spending my last nights in Seattle.

I was scrambling to see everybody and everything before my plane left, ingraining what I truly believed would be my last memories of Seattle into my brain before I left. I finally got to see Lisa the night before I left. After she left work, we had fifteen minutes before I had to go meet my grandfather for dinner back in West Seattle. I saw her in the window of a bus and ran to catch up with it.

We got out a stop later and had our final goodbye in the parking lot of a goddamned Safeway.

It wasn't anything, we'd both assured each other multiple times. I was moving, I was leaving town, this was a month, a fling, nothing.

So why the fuck was I crying as I walked away?