He was standing nearby, gazing out into the grey Seattle mist, as if he too were trying to make up his mind about his next move.
Erik asked me if I had seen a red bag laying around. He explained that he asked another passenger to keep an eye on it while he stepped into the restroom. When he returned she was gone, and so was his bag which contained most of his belongings and his bus ticket.
I asked Erik if he was on his way to visit family for Thanksgiving and he kind of smirked as though eating turkey were the last thing on his mind.
After seven years of shooting heroin, stealing appliances from construction sites, 30+ arrests, countless lies to his family and friends, multiple near-death experiences when he regained consciousness in ambulances with a Narcan needle stuck in his vein, and a lot of other awful stuff that only an addict can tell you about, he decided he was finished.
Erik had just gotten out of a five-day detox, which he described as one of the worst experiences of his life, and he was heading to a live-in rehabilitation facility in Portland. He just had to get there.
Erik told me that he comes from a totally stable, normal, close-knit Irish-Catholic family of seven. They went to church every Sunday. One of his brothers is a police officer. Another is a lawyer. Erik was the one who messed up. Pretty much everyone cut ties with him, until he went to detox. I can only imagine the cautious relief they're all feeling right now.
I still can't figure out why he wasn't able to just print another bus ticket at the terminal. He never quite explained that, and I had another assignment to get to, but as I was leaving, Erik was on the phone with his dad, who was now driving an hour to Seattle to pick up his son and drive him another three hours south to Portland.
"Whatever it takes," he told me.