Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2020 @ 9:19 am
I cycle with Chris out to UBC in the rain. Mist gathers on my face and fills my lungs. The cycling routes are quiet; few others wish to cycle in the blustery storm.
We talk about everything. Conversation is easy. He asks about work, my family, and my relationship. I do the same, braving my heart to ask about Claudia.
He tells me about her and my heart survives. I listen and ask questions.
I study him closely as he talks about her. I notice his endearing quirks, details that simultaneously attract and repel me.
After 20 kilometers, I suggest we take a break on a bench that overlooks the mist-shrouded city. We sit apart - I’ve been to the protest and am distancing myself from others - and he places dried mango on the bench for me in a one-way transaction.
“Do you ever regret your decision to leave Daniel?”
“No. I’m sad, at times, to think of the loss of his friendship and our long history, but I know that I made the right decision.”
“I’m so proud of you. I know it took a lot of courage for you to do that. A lot of people just coast along in their relationships, scared that they won’t be able to find anything better.”
We cycle the remaining 10 kilometers home, and as we enter my neighbourhood, the seven o’clock cheer begins. Pots and pans, clapping hands, a wistful trombone from way up high. Rain falling and steaming up from my shoulders.
Saying goodbye. I want to say more. I’ve never told him how much he means to me. The brother that I never had. The person who sees me. He’s been in my life for fifteen years. We’ve rafted together in kayaks, resting during a forceful gale, him passing me snacks, the ocean breaking over the bows of our boats. We’ve huddled together in a hut in the midst of a summer snowstorm in an alpine pass in Alaska, him passing me hot tea to warm my shivering body. We’ve stood side by side in witness of majestic landscapes, wildflowers quivering around us. Stars in the night sky. A photo of us, his arm loosely around me, illuminated by incandescent warmth in his parent’s living room, on his fortieth birthday.
I love you.