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Purgatory - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 @ 1:09 am
Waking up in a business hotel in Vancouver. I pull back the blinds and look out at the thick clouds, the sun not yet risen. Comforting gloom.
I walk to work. It's a half hour stroll, from the business district hotel to Yaletown. I line up with commuters from the burbs for coffee and a breakfast sandwich.
I prime myself for a day of intense networking. Going light on food and heavy on caffeine so that I'm bright and smiley and energetic.
The work day disappears into back-to-back meetings. Projects. Talking about my work agreement/arrangement. Catching up with everyone. I maintain my energy all day. I even stay for the after work beers - something that I always used to skip out on. Somewhere in the day I find time to review and mark up a 19 page design drawing package for the EIT to complete next week.
I leave at 5:30 to meet up with my ex, Tim. He is working night shift on the building across from my office. I haven't seen him in eons. We meet for (more) coffee. I don't overthink it.
I like how he's grown up. I feel some tension, and I still love him. I want to spend more time with him. I like his face, and it's comforting to stare at it for an hour. I loved his soul from the moment we met. I will never stop loving him. I dream bigger when he's beside me.
We part ways. Hug. I breath in the sweaty smell of his work clothes. I want to hug him harder but hold back.
I fob out a bike and ride to do some night time errands. The rain turning on and off, the air smelling like brine and creosote. My skin humid and dewy.
I arrive back at the hotel at 9pm with a sack of food from the fancy grocery store. I stuff my face, finally allowing myself to give in to hunger, allowing my energy to ebb into night. I look at the time. Hot tub? I look at my stomach in the mirror. Meh. Who cares. Pull on my bikini, flip flop to the elevator. Content food belly, happy with the promise of the hot tub.
I go into the gym area. I go through the doors to the pool and am surprised that it's outside. Rain splattering, high rises soaring above. One man in the hot tub.
Oh fuck. One man. One me. Steamy hot tub. Rain. Skyscrapers. The salty air. A wind funneling through.
I wasn't expecting the pool to be outside!" I say, heading off the awkwardness of the situation. He responds on agreement, and I slip into the pool.
Bliss. Backstroke on the 6th floor. Looking up at condos and offices. Downtown swimming pools are bizarrely divine. Steam blowing in wafts. The dichotomy of organic zero gravity movements in the water, and the straight concrete walls towering above. I roll around like a seal, waiting for the man to leave, glancing to see if he's watching me. I feel beautiful. I feel powerful and free and happy. Swimming is such a joy for me, a playful state of grace.
He doesn't leave. I climb from the pool and sink into the hot tub. I size up the guy. He looks pretty normal. About my age.
So you aren't out enjoying some nightlife on a Friday?
I may as well initiate. I hate awkward hot tub silence.
He responds gamely. The conversation twists and turns through work, personal history, family, life purpose, technology, music. We move from the hot tub to the pool to cool off.
There's this moment and everything is in slow motion. The skyscrapers reflecting in the pool water. Steam blowing between us. We float in a sort of dance. The distance between us perfection. I am in a movie.
Back in the hot tub. We sit closer now. We've been talking for more than an hour. He makes me smile and laugh. I haven't had as interesting a conversation in ages. It's pretty much the best first date ever.
The security guard comes to give a ten minute warning.
The man tells me his name.
Tells me he doesn't want our conversation to end.
Tells me that he's glad he met me.
That I have an attractive smile and personality. That he doesn't know my situation but...
I blush and clam up. I don't know how to respond to these things.
We're standing on the pool deck, dripping from limp hotel towels. Out of the water, it's different. More real. Harder. I want to say a million things but I just smile and say good night, I enjoyed talking with you.
Back in my room, I grapple and revel concurrently. Maybe he's a slime that does this all the time. I'm such easy prey. Why did I smile so much? It's just nerves. Whatever, I actually really liked talking with him. It was natural and fun. I learned some things. The conversation was balanced, he was curious about me. It was real. It was beautiful.
I slide into the smooth hotel sheets. Happy. Calm.
I think about the man in the hot tub. The dance in the pool. The perfect moment of meeting someone when everything is fresh and new and fun.
His name? His name is Daniel.