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COVID, Round 2 - Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022
Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022 @ 4:48 pm
Swing into Fall
The morning air temperature has shifted.
My bare arms are cold on my ride into work, and I love how it feels like swimming in cold water. Sweet smelling katsura leaves swirl at the gutterline. Horse chestnuts, comically green and spiked, litter the quiet roadway that winds through the manors and mansions of Shaughnessy. I ride this way to see the expanses of manicured lawns, the English gardens, the expensive cars that slip silently from darkened garages. Panthers emerging from the oak forest.
I return to dancing. The slanted wooden floor of the dance studio. The wooden windows thrown open to bring in a wash of sunlight that illuminates suspended particles of dust. Touching men, different men, and moving with them. Holding their hands. Remembering what it’s like to connect with someone, to move from stranger to something else. Knowing when it feels good for me that it also feels good for them. I know because I ask.
A weekend on an island, and K and I walk down to the beach at night. She’s a few more drinks in than me, and I like how she’s a looser than she normally is around me. We strip off and wade into the ocean. Bioluminescence blooms around us. Bright sparks, tiny white stars, shed from my fingertips as I tread water. A phosphorescent glow around my legs. I pull my snorkel over my head and dive down into it. Have you ever done that? Have you ever swam through a sparkling, glittering world, black like space? Am I still on earth?
Moments like that make me love life so much that it hurts. How can things like this exist?
A dog putting its head into my lap, looking up at me with love.
I hike a series of obscure peaks. I scramble up exposed faces of rock. I hop across endless fields of boulders. I hike for hours through wet forest shrouded in mist. I slip wild blueberries onto my tongue and press the fruit against the roof of my mouth to release the surprise of sweet or tart. You never know which it will be.
I go to the climbing gym alone one evening, riding my bike over at sunset, later than I normally would go. I am not alone for long. A man, taller than me and well-muscled, approaches and asks if I want to climb with him. I say yes without hesitation. He’s good looking, I think. I don’t know too much about these things. I care so much more about how I feel around a person than their dimensions and geometry. And maybe that’s just it. I instantly like how I feel around him. As I climb with him, oddly trusting my life to this man that I’ve never met, I feel my hormones awakening. Warmth pulses through me. Towards the end of the session, he falls off of the wall, and his weight pulls me from the floor, and we end up entwined and hanging from the floor. This just happens with climbers of significantly different weight, and there are ways to minimize it, which I am not used to deploying. I lower us to the mats apologizing, and in my head I’m seeing this all from a distance. A meet-cute on which I will not capitalize.
Moving from stranger to something else. His eyes watching me move up the wall. The tension of the rope between us, him tied to one end, me tied to the other.
The sweet smell of crushed katsura leaves, and the tiny stars falling from my hands under the surface of the sea.
I love this time of year.