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The Day Before Japan - Monday, Feb. 17, 2020
Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 @ 11:29 am
Rye and Ginger
We move together silently in the warm, dimly lit studio on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Candles flickering against the walls. Our hands raise and our bodies bend, breathing in and out together. I face away from him, my body stretched out in a long sideways lean, and I feel his breath on the back of my neck as he exhales.
On Friday night, we sat in an old bar overlooking the beach, ordering too many double rye and gingers. Our legs pressed against each other. I lean over to kiss him, and we both languish in the moment. Feeling him wanting me. Feeling me wanting him.
The rye loosens our conversation. A bit of the curtain pulls back.
We talk about moving in together.
Not now, not soon, but eventually.
We stand together in the forest on a snowy knoll. Huge clumps of snow fall from the sky and land on my shoulders. I slam my feet down into the bindings of my skis.
“You go first this time,” he says.
I push off and ski through the forest, turning around trees and flushing out a pileated woodpecker.
I put on my red polka-dot skirt, and we go to the dance. A jazz band in the corner of the room.
“You’re so cute, in your red lipstick,” he says to me as we’re changing into our dancing shoes.
When I walk into the room, I make eye contact with a tall, well-dressed man, and we smile and say hi. I feel as though I’ve met him before but can’t be sure.
Halfway through the night, we come face to face and he takes my hand. Implicit invitation and agreement to dance. He talks to me as though we are old friends.
“What are your intentions for the year,” he asks.
He asks me many questions: about my likes and dislikes, about what I do for work, about where I live. We dance and talk, and he holds me closely and talks about making pottery and painting and playing the piano. I breathe him in - his strength, his attention - and feel the pressure from his hands as he carefully and expertly leads me around the dance floor.
We dance three songs in a row, and each song has a faster tempo than the last. During the third song, he looks down at me and smiles and then leads me into a lift. His arms around me, and he whispers jump into my ear. It works. The lift, it works.
“What is your name?” I ask, before walking away.
“Bobby,” he replies, “and yours?”
At the end of the weekend, I go to Russell’s apartment and light candles and lay on the couch looking out at the freighters in the harbour. He comes home from dinner with a friend and doesn’t turn on the lights. He comes over and lays down beside me and tells me that he’s glad that he has me around to light the candles. Says that it feels like being around the campfire.
He rearranges himself and curls around behind and nuzzles into me. Holds my hand that lays in front of my chest. Kisses my neck. And falls asleep.
His breath against the back of my neck. His warmth around me. His body against mine. The freighters pulling against their anchors with the shifting tide. Rain falling and washing away the remaining snow.
I love you. I love you. I love you.