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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Saturday, Feb. 09, 2019 @ 12:44 am
He picks me up from in front of my office. The strangeness of seeing each other in office attire. We both left work early, cheekily early even for a Friday.
We drive up the mountain; the weather is cooperating for a ski. This is how I know Chris - geared up and headed on an adventure.
The skiing is beautiful. We ski up to the top of the trail system, and the sky shifts into purples and wintry blues with the setting sun. Gazing down over the shoulder of the mountain at the harbour, the freighters, and the city starting to glimmer with amber.
I say, "The wind."
He pauses talking. And then we fall into silence. The wind rushing through the hemlock and fir forest sounds like running water. The fine shimmering whoosh of granular snow blowing along the icey crust. A bird calls once. Or maybe it's two trees moving against each other in the gusty wind.
We look at each other and smile.
Two point five million people in this city, and here we are alone, witnessing wilderness.
We break in the lodge. Children clomping around in ski boots, their snow pants at half mast around their knees. He pours me tea. He opens a container, presents me with chopsticks, and watches my face as I eat my first Chinese dumpling.
As I down the end of my hot chocolate, he comments on the sugary sludge left behind.
"I'd find a way to extract it from the bottom of the cup if I weren't with you," I admit.
"I wish you would. Then I'd know that you're totally comfortable with me."
A few more laps. On the downhills, we are side by side, our skiis purring beneath us, the dark forest moving quickly past.
He skis with me. He skis with me.
On our last break, in the most encouraging and stupendous way, he suggests a way to combine the various parts of my education and work experience in a way that I had never considered. My mind reels.
"Chris. You always give me a lot to think about."
We do one last lap, the mountain technically closed for the night. The temperature plummets, and we ski fast to keep warm. One last blitzing descent down the power lines.
Back down in the city, he pulls over to drop me off. I unload my gear. I walk towards him. He says something encouraging about the days that are ahead for me. I tell him how much fun I had.
We hug to part ways. The wind has picked up even more, and the cedar trees sway above us in the dark, dropping fragrant sprays of scaly needles. Did the hug last a moment longer than normal? Was it fractionally firmer? I think I put the side of my head on his chest. I'm not sure. It all happened so fast. And there were a lot of jackets.
Time with him is a vacation from everything. All of the heavy feelings. All of the dread.
"The last time that I went night skiing was with you."
"Chris! You live here!"
"I have nobody to do this with."
I find my entry from that night. Towards the end of the entry, my stomach clenches up. My god. That was nearly three years ago.
I take a deep breath. Shake my head and blink to reorient myself.
One of the cats gallops across the house.
My body is tired and heavy feeling.
My heart is full.