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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Friday, May. 10, 2019 @ 12:38 am
I sleep heavily. Wake and unfold myself, standing up from the floor. The room awash in light.
Cycling to work without a jacket, the wind cutting through my light cardigan. I shrug it off and let the ocean air bathe my skin.
I meet my sister at lunch for a walk.
“It feels like I never left, in a way. It seems like we only missed a couple of months of lunch walks,” I muse. “It’s like that thing - moving into the mountains - was all a horrible dream.”
After work, I gear up for running and meet Peter in the lobby of his condo tower. I stand there in the fancy building, women in high heels walking past, taking their toy dogs out to pee. I twist my hair up into a messy knot on the top of my head, and we head out to do our five kilometer route.
“Is it hard for you to run this slow?” he asks, glancing over. I laugh and run backwards beside him for a few moments.
“Nope. I am very happy to run at this pace.”
At the end of the run, we stand on the sidewalk and talk. And talk. There’s an easiness that’s developed between us. We hug for a while. I love this - standing on the sidewalk in the middle of the city - just hugging. Human connection. A moment of pause. All of the chaos, all of the rushing, and yet the most important thing has no movement at all.
“Bye!” I hug him once more. When I step back, he pokes me in the stomach.
“You’re going to go run another five kilometers, aren’t you?”
I shrug my shoulders and feign indecision. And run away back into the depth of the city.
I cycle back to my neighbourhood. I stop for groceries. There’s something about me now that people like, are drawn to. People talk to me randomly. My cheeks are rosy, and I’m bursting with happiness. I have no fear, no anxiety. I want to know everyone, to be a part of this community.
At home, I check my phone. Messages from the man I met for sushi, the lawyer, and Russell, all wanting to know when I’m free next.
I light two dozen candles and turn off the lights in my apartment. I write back to Russell, accept his invitation to go hiking on the weekend. I sit in my camping chair and gaze out at the moon that hangs between two apartment buildings. I drag open the sliding door with my foot. A flood of coastal air, all brine and kelp and cedar.
“You must be doing something right on these first dates,” my sister comments.
“I’m not sure what. I don’t wear make-up. I wear this dress that is made of sacking and is actually shaped more or less like a sack.”
“That’s just it, Shannon. You are quietly confident, optimistic, open, authentic, and happy. That’s attractive.”