Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2019 @ 12:24 am
Climbing Trip: Part II
I stand in front of the coffee machine in a fog, the bewildering return to work after ten days off, ten days of paddling and climbing, ten days of camping with Russell.
“You went on a ten-day trip with him? This sounds serious. How did it go? Are you still friends? Oh - we are going climbing tonight. You should come.” Breanne, her cheerful demeanor, her eternal light. I accept her invitation.
I arrive at the gym and meet her and her friend. Then another of our friends arrives, and we are an unstoppable girl crew. We climb and laugh and share stories. I slay two of my nemesis routes, and Breanne cheers me on from below.
I turn and am face-to-face with a guy from my sailing lessons. We laugh and say hello and talk for a bit. Realizing the community that I’m building around myself.
I cycle home after sunset. The night is warm, and I ride home along the seawall without hands and let the wind cool the undersides of my arms. I stop to message Russell at the water fountain where I last saw Peter. I look up at his apartment and wonder what he’s doing. I hope that you’re happy. It’s too bad that you weren’t able to trust that the love that I was offering was real and honest and true. You said that you thought that I wasn’t ready to love, but you were wrong. I was ready to love with an intensity that you didn’t imagine possible.
I pull up outside of Russell’s apartment, and he steps out of the building at the moment that I arrive. There on the sidewalk, we catch up about work and life and kiss and lean into each other. He steps back from me and squeezes my arm, “Whoa, you certainly have been climbing! Your arms were the first thing that I noticed when you pulled up on your bike.”
I ride home happy and tired.
Girlfriends. Climbing. My body becoming stronger, more balanced. Discovering new ability. A boyfriend. My sunny apartment. My bicycle and this city and diving into the ocean while my laundry churns in the washing machine.
One night on the trip, we share a bottle of wine while sitting on warm, granite bluffs. He boulders along the bluffs and points out the feldspars, the grain sizes, the dikes. I watch how his hands move across the rock, pressing gently against the rough surface. He inspects the rock in the same way that he surveys my naked body.
The stars come out, and the ocean is calm, and when it is fully dark I climb down to the water.
He watches me intently, curious of my endeavor, concerned for my safety.
I swirl my hand in the water to discover that my instinct was right.
“Come down here,” I urge him. “I need to show you something.”
He carefully joins me at the lapping edge of ocean.
“Put your hand in the water and move it around.” He glances at me, then plunges his hand into the water.
A blaze of diamonds radiates from his fingertips. Bioluminescent creatures, invisible until disturbed. He laughs in surprise and then places his other hand into the water and splashes and swirls the water.
“This is amazing. You are amazing. I’ve never seen this before.”
I watch the sapphires and diamonds cascade from his hands. I see this and know and understand that this is what happens inside of me every time that he touches me. Those same hands, the same surges of energy. The glittering bursts of light that illuminate the darkest of oceans.
This moment, the magic, the romance, the intensity. I want to dive into the water so that the glowing creatures touch every part of my body, so that when I open my eyes underwater the diamonds will fall from my eyelashes.
Tattoo this onto my skin so that I can carry it with me into eternity.
His hands and the rock and the blaze of underwater diamonds.
That night, we lie together in the dark. He places his hand on the side of my head and softly kisses my forehead. I open my eyes a moment later, and he is looking directly at me, his eyes large and blue and glowing in the darkness. We hold each other’s gaze, and a cool breeze ruffles our hair and brings goosebumps up across my skin.
The tenderness and intensity of his gaze.
This is love.