Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 @ 9:37 pm
Going Away Present
I should be packing. I am flying down to Vancouver tomorrow, and I need to pack clothes for camping, for rain, for snow, for sleeping, for family dinners.
Instead, I come home and shovel the driveway. When I finish shovelling to one end of the driveway, I turn around and start all over again. After the second time, I go inside and rummage up my old camera. I bring it outside, take off my mittens, and set the timer. I place it on the driveway, line it up, and press the shutter. I run into the frame, sliding on the old ice, grab the shovel, and start laughing, even though I am alone, because I feel like a farmer posing in front of a wheat field.
I should be packing, but instead I am thinking about last night. I am thinking about how happy I was to see him, and how natural and familiar it felt to have him standing in my driveway amidst the blowing snow. I keep thinking about how he came towards me and hugged me, even though we'd never so much as brushed hands before.
He smelled faintly of smoke. At school, I would go outside on breaks to sit in the sun and he would be there smoking and we would talk. He came into my kitchen and started showing me pictures on his camera. He was standing so close too me - too close, really - and I was looking at his hands more than the pictures.
I served him dinner. I agonized over what to make, needing the perfect balance of man food, date food, and friend food. I settled on cannelloni. He went back for seconds. He had two helping of salad too - scraping the plate of pumpkin seeds and avocado. I was flattered.
We drank a little. He sat in my living room and we talked while I turned records over and over. The snow was blowing horizontally past the window. I tried to hide my shaking, a nervous thing that I have recently developed, similar to a jack russell terrier.
Eventually I made up his bed, and he went to it. I went to mine. I closed my door.
I lay awake most of the night, listening to him occasionally turn over.
In the morning I quietly readied myself for work. I had breakfast, made a lunch. Finally, I peeked in his door. He was sleeping, or pretending to, and my heart broke to see him there with the bedding messy around him. I told him that I was going to dig the cars out.
Soon he was out with me, the sun hardly up. Beside me, shovelling the snow, talking more loudly than he should, probably his nervous thing. I wanted to say and do so many things, but instead I handed him some gingerbread men and told him to drive safe. He hugs me again, smells faintly like smoke still, and it feels so right that I can hardly recall it.
So, I'm here now, folding his bedding, taking his water glass to the kitchen. I look at the chair pushed out from the table, the way that he left it. I think to myself that I did the right thing. That things are often better left unsubstantiated, especially when it puts ones integrity at stake.
For, in the future, I'd rather that he consider me honest, trustworthy, and unselfish.