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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Saturday, Mar. 02, 2019 @ 12:18 am
Chris arrives and both of my parents head towards the door. The welcoming committee. I pass between them and open the door, glancing behind at them, then up at Chris, my face blushing. I'd forgotten how tall he is.
He drives us up the mountain, another Friday night together. I drop my pack, which holds our dinner, in the lodge, and then we ski around the back and up to the top of the hill. The sun sets, at first in pastel ice cream colours. We loop the higher trails, the roller coaster run around the back that is my favourite. Out at the powerlines, the sky has turned a blistering and firey orange.
The stars appear quickly in the clear night. We are standing beside each other, skis parallel, and he says, "Look, there's Orion." I follow his gaze up between the trees.
We cook dinner together under the stars. I open a can of soup with my Swiss army knife while he lights the stove. We stand together on the snowy flat beside a frozen lake and talk, while the stove hisses and the soup warms. When we eat, I break off a piece of bread from the loaf that I brought. He picks up the other half of my piece. This stands out to me, the sharing, my half and your half, my hands touched that, and now it's in your mouth.
"I was seeing a girl last year. She broke up with me on Christmas Eve."
He tells me that he realized that the emotional walls that he built around himself have prevented him from having deep relationships.
I tell him about a job offer that came my way this week.
"I'm not sure about it. I don't think of myself as being good with people."
"Shannon. That's so far from the truth. You are great with people. You come across as authentic and honest. They are offering this role to you because they see your potential and because they trust you."
We are the last ones off of the hill. We are racing down ahead of the groomer, the huge machine with blazing lights and the diesel roar bearing down on us. We race each other, which is a treacherous feat on Nordic skis and an icy night. He lets me win.
Driving home, the windows fogging up. We are quiet. I see his wall, now, more so than ever. My insides are still, and I understand that it's not me at all. It's him, it's his fear. If this is ever to be any different, I will need to lean a ladder against that wall.
If I climb up the ladder, swing my legs over and sit on top of the wall, will he invite me in?