Altar at Cal Anderson Park vigil: Still fighting.


We saw you, two 19-year-olds among the thousands gathered in Cal Anderson Park to mourn those gunned down in an Orlando gay club. Night was setting in. People were crying, hugging, making posters, and lighting candles. The air swirled with sadness, anxiety, and righteous anger. We thought that you would be discouraged, that the news of this massacre and of all the massacres you've seen—even in your relatively short time on the planet—would render impossible the dream of creating a country as progressive as you two are. Instead, you were two bright spots, heartbroken in your own way but hopeful too. "We're not even 20 yet, and this is our world that's happening," one of you told us. "But we're still fighting against it. It's not like we're going away anytime soon."


Sunday morning you were sitting on the bench at the bus stop on East Olive Way. Your knees were bruised and scraped, and you looked distraught. Occasionally you'd let out a sharp wail. You were trans, or a cross-dresser, or queer in some way—and you could have been crying about the news of the 49 people killed in Orlando earlier that day or because you had just been hurt yourself or because someone close to you was suffering, but we didn't know any of that because we didn't ask.


You were the twin girls on the E bus line at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, heading downtown. You weren't born yet. But your mother was showing your shape in her body and talking about you. When you both arrive, you will meet your three siblings, who are 1, 2, and 3. Your mother is one of 7. Her mother is one of 18. People tell your mother it seems like she already has enough on her hands, but she brushes them off. Your family doesn't look the least bit troubled at the front of the bus all the way until your stop at Third and Pike. Your brothers look out the windows, watching. One of them has a dreamy, faraway look—the oldest one. The younger boy, the middle child, is watching out for dangers. His face is steadfast. He's protective of his baby sister. You'll get the same treatment, no doubt, and you'll also have terrifically curly hair. After you, your mother says she'll be done. It will be the five of you.


You were a young man in a natty charcoal suit jacket and black trousers, crossing Broadway at John on a Saturday afternoon while listening to a CD on a Sony Discman. Oh, how we wanted to shake your hand, youthful rebel against the Cloud/iPod/iPhone hegemony.


On a Tuesday evening, we stood on a corner on Capitol Hill, waiting for you, our Uber driver. When you arrived, we couldn't quite see you, as we were temporarily blinded by your gleaming white Tesla and you were obscured by your tinted windows. We were curious about your all-electric vehicle with its glass roof, its computer screen mounted in the console, and its starting price of $70,000. Because we were drunk, we decided to ask you a few questions about it. In just five seconds, you can accelerate from zero to 120 miles per hour, you told us (even though we didn't ask about that). This was actually your second Tesla, and you had it custom designed and delivered to your house. Of all the questions we asked, we kept one to ourselves: Why do you, who likely paid well over $100,000 for your car, use it to drive strangers around at night? You must be rich but lonely.


We saw you driving a glittering gold Cadillac on a Sunday afternoon on Pine Street near 10th Avenue and had a flashback to our Detroit-area childhood, circa 1973. So thanks for that, baller.


We saw you at the symphony from the Founders Tier box seats, house right. You're bald, and you wore a white shirt with a dark tie, which would have been forgettable except that we were pretty sure you were Seattle City Council member and Stranger frenemy Tim Burgess. "Huh," we thought, "interesting to see you here, Tim. Are you trying to be the next Nick Licata? No one can replace Nick Licata! How dare you even try?" But then, as the orchestra played Gershwin, two things happened. First, we loosened up a bit. "Good for you for getting out to the symphony, Tim," we thought. "Maybe you're just a regular guy and not, as we have written, 'Seattle's Tywin Lannister.'" Then, after all that, a second thing happened. We realized you were not, in fact, Tim Burgess. You were just some guy.


We caught a half-empty 40 bus by Trader Joe's in Ballard together on Sunday night. Passengers started grumbling after the bus hit a particularly nasty speed bump. We cast a look back to see what all the fuss was about and saw you, a scruffy fortysomething man with a shaved head, black boots, and shiny silver earrings, sitting in the last row of seats. And what were you doing? You were rocking out while playing air piano—eyes closed, completely lost in reverie. You were jamming too hard to be performing any old "Moonlight Sonata." So what was it? Some Rachmaninoff? Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles"?