Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019 @ 12:21 am
On the Seawall
Dusk. Cycling. Sweat trickling down my back. My hands shaky on the handlebars from two hours of gym climbing. I pedal alone along the seawall near Peter’s apartment and see him walking and talking on his phone. I pull hard on my brakes and skid sideways into a stop. Crank my bike around. Cycle towards him, smiling, calling out, “Pete! Peter!”
He turns and immediately smiles.
Mid-afternoon. Cycling. Sweat trickling behind my knees. I pedal along the seawall with Russell, side-by-side on our road bikes. I look at an oncoming cyclist and know immediately that it’s Chris. His blue panniers, his yellow tee shirt, his blonde hair wild beneath his helmet.
He doesn’t pause. I turn around in my saddle and glance back to see if he’s slowed down.
“That’s my friend Chris,” I explain to Russell as I watch Chris disappear around the corner.
“You could have stopped to talk, you know. I’d like to meet him.”
Home from an eight day trip with Russell. I draft a long diary entry. All of the magical moments. My shoulders brown and peeling from days of climbing in the desert. Sand across my apartment floor, carried in on my gear from the days on the Oregon Coast.
We are home for less than 24 hours before we are together again. I belay him up the walls of the climbing gym. My heart catches when I watch him flag out to the side with a pointed toe. When I see his muscles emerge from his body as he exerts himself. He encourages my climbing with endearing honesty. The proud look on his face when I execute a challenging move.
After climbing we cycle to a gravelled pocket beach off the park to watch the sunset. Eating cheese and drinking tequila from red enamel cups. The waves tangling and tossing a small roll of seaweed, green and brown, along the shoreline. Two seals fish offshore, their bodies round and sleek and fluidly turning and diving.
“Thank you for another amazing evening,” he says to me as we are saying goodbye at the intersection near the heron rookery.
I talked with Peter for over an hour there on the seawall in front of the spectacle of the Dîner en Blanc. I asked about his mother’s health, his sister’s move to New York. I watched his face and eyes and body language with intensity. I flirted and bantered and felt so utterly confident.
The conversation turned over and around and landed on the topic of his most recent ex. I’d heard a lot about her already, but this time I heard it all differently. He’s still hung up on her. Like a camera snapping into focus.
Peter. My god. The gift that he gave me, of that first night, of my first post-Daniel kiss. He took a risk on me. His brown eyes and his sturdy body, reassuringly soft. My judgement was sound in trusting him.
“I need to go home to pack,” I say to him, as the jazz band starts up beside us.
“OK, yeah,” he replies. “You know that you don’t have to always be climbing mountains? Stay home, sometime, and watch a movie for me.”
I hug him with ferocity. I bury my face in his neck. I press my hands into his back and pull him into me. I breathe him in.
“It was nice to see you,” he says into my neck.
I mount my bicycle and ride off. The Dîner en Blanc guests all light sparklers and are singing in unison. I hate to leave. I want to dance with Peter there on the lawn. I want to love him. He deserves love, a soft heart and hands against his chest.
And I turn the corner and pedal towards home.