Rooted, I used to think.

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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
You and Me - Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019
Resilience - Friday, Dec. 13, 2019
Anniversary - Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019
Still Happy - Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019

Saturday, Apr. 06, 2019 @ 11:45 pm

I push off of the wall and swim in an arc below the surface. Pulling the water around me, I swim deeper, then rise back to the surface to come up for air.

I’ve come up for air after spending twenty two hours with Peter.

I attended a conference with three women, their presence and encouragement comforting. I take notes, I take photos. A Nobel Peace Prize winner speaking from the stage. At times my mind wanders to Peter. So much discomfort and anxiety, confused at myself. I decide that that night, when we meet, that I will ask him direct questions.

With an hour to spare between the conference and our meeting time, I go to the mall and buy a new top and mascara. I didn’t pack any fancier tops or makeup when I left my house in the mountains; I never expected to be going out at night. I change at the office. My filing cabinet has become a closet - spare clothing, shoes, toiletries. I apply mascara for the first time since November.

We stay in. We play board games and drink gin. The city a glittering panorama through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Later, lying quietly on the couch.

“What, in general, are you looking for?” I ask.

He knows what I’m asking. He takes time to carefully word his response.

“I’m looking for a fulfilling and healthy relationship. I hope that you see that. Can you see that?”

“What was it that attracted you to me at first?”

“Your eyes. Your smile. This dusting of freckles across your nose.” He traces his finger across my face from cheek to cheek.

The night eases into day. There are times of sleep. Times of awake.

We emerge from the glassy tower, bleary-eyed and hungry, at four in the afternoon. We sit across from each other in a booth in a diner and order eggs and bacon. He steals sips from my coffee. Pours ketchup on his eggs.

“Ketchup and eggs is a thing in New York, moreso than other places,” he explains.

We kiss before we part ways. People walking around us, mountain ash blossoms swaying in the tree above us. I ride the bus home in a daze. I spend a few minutes at home then walk to the aquatic centre.

I swim and swim and swim. I think of his brown eyes and the quiet talking at four in the morning. Of him gathering up my hair and kissing the back of my neck.

I sit in the sauna and try to work out what I want. What’s fair to him. What’s fair to me. I cannot see anything clearly, so hungry for passion. Lost in the glimmering daze of physical chemistry. I decide to not overthink things, that I can have this as a gift and trust that it’s a gift for him too.

I walk home from the pool flushed and warm. Rain is falling. I cross a huge gravel playing field. The floodlights are off. I hang my backpack on a fence post, turn up my music, and dance. All of the rain, music loud on my headphones, the veil of darkness.

He holds his arm up to mine, our skin similarly pale with freckles and moles.

“Between us,” he says, “We can find all of the constellations.”

Roots | Shoots