Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 @ 11:06 am
The morning air is cool. I wake up and curl against him and kiss his neck.
“Let’s go mountain biking today,” I suggest to him. I want to ride in the forest, over crisp fallen leaves, to dare myself to ride over drops and rollers and skinnies.
He messages his friend and we make a plan to meet out in an oceanside forest, way out in the suburb at the end of the inlet. I rarely venture that far east these days.
We drive near to where I used to live, the area now built up with fancy condo towers. Was that my life? Living here, cycling into work at the industrial park at the bottom of the hill? My cottage near the lake. My early morning running route down through the layers of mist to the inlet. The year that I met Chris, working in that lab together. The year that I met Daniel.
We rip through the forest, and I’m alternately terrified and elated. Rolling over a big boulder and screaming with excited pride upon landing. Balking at a constructed ladder up and over log. Running back up the trail and balking again, nearly throwing myself into the soft, rotting wood. And then steeling myself, knowing that I am capable, and feeling myself rising up on the structure, the tires rattling on the rungs, the bike steady and sure beneath me, and then the weightless drop to the forest floor and the soft landing, and my razor focus to navigate the narrow trail beyond.
We finish and are stripping our gear from our bodies beside the van. Layers of sweat and dust.
“Do you two want to come over for a drink? We got some new patio furniture so can entertain outside,” he asks us. We agree. We have no plans. No kids, no obligations.
I parallel park the van on a typically beautiful East Van street. We walk our bikes to their shed, and his wife comes out onto the patio bearing a plate of watermelon and plums. She wears a straw hat and floral skirt, and her son shyly looks out at us from the dim of the house.
A home. A shady patio. Carrots and potatoes and rhubarb in the garden. I see art on the walls in the house. Everything immaculately maintained, yet still with an artistic flare. She’s a writer, formerly as a special interest journalist for the top national newspaper, but is now writing a book. I study her eagerly, delicate and beautiful, and ask her about her book. She has no idea that I want to write too. That I do write. She thinks of me as a rock climber and a mountain biker and an engineer, not as a writer, I’m sure.
This warm and loving home, and the huge trees and close, friendly neighbours, brings out an ache in my heart. My house in Revelstoke and it’s original doorknobs and the big piece of art on the living room wall and our joined lives. The condo that we had on Main St. The garden that I planted with salal and vine maple and swordfern. The house in Prince George, with the bathroom that I tiled and painted and the lawn that I mowed and the sunbeam where the cat napped.
I love my current life, but this ache shows me a deeper desire. A desire to have that shared life. Working together towards a dream.
I want to have a space that shows all of the love that we have for each other.
I want to feel sheltered and loved.