The Best Person - Wednesday, Jun. 07, 2023
Wednesday, May. 10, 2023 @ 11:28 am
A man walks towards me pushing his bicycle through the sand. He’s silhouetted by the setting sun, and I bring my hand up to shield my eyes. I don’t immediately recognize his face, but when he speaks again his accent triggers my memory.
Shawn and I are sitting on the seawall watching the sunset after riding together in the forest for two hours.
I introduce Shawn to the couple, Dimitri and Katia, who I met at a party on the previous Friday. They look at me and Shawn, and I can tell that they’re trying to sort out our relationship. Shawn’s grey hair, his wedding ring flashing in the setting sun. I watch Shawn interact with my friends, and I feel proud to share him with them. To me it’s obvious that he is a hidden gem.
After my friends leave, Shawn and I have a laugh at how popular I am. He teases me a little. He can probably tell how pleased I am to have built up a community around myself.
We sit there on the beach together, people moving around us, the steady sound of drumming and people talking, the sky turning orange, then pink, then softening into navy blue.
There were moments in the forest, earlier, that I want to hold onto. We went down an overgrown trail, and I lagged behind momentarily, running my bike back up the trail to re-do a feature at which I baulked. I realized that I should have called ahead to tell him what I was doing, because when I finally pushed through the brush around the corner, he was already hurrying back up the trail to find me, his face full of concern. I ached inside to see him caring so deeply about my wellbeing. I promised to not scare him again like that.
Another moment. He’d asked me what my next project would be, and I mentioned this skinny leading to a log drop down a bushy side trail. I’d found the feature a couple of months ago and laughed at the ridiculousness of it. But also, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
“Well, let’s go take a look at it,” he said. And then he led me right to it. I watched him go over it. I walked up to it and took a good look.
“I can do that,” I said.
“Of course you can,” he replied.
He stood off to the side to spot me. I nervously approached, then cleared the feature, then hiked back up the trail to do it again with a big smile on my face.
Messing around in the forest with him. The green smell of broken bracken ferns. The owl hooting at dusk. Mud splattered on my face, and me laughing and smiling so hard that my face and belly ache.
What have I acquired with bringing Shawn into my life? A friend? A riding partner? An older brother? I don’t know how to define this and am spending a lot of time sorting through it in my head. I constantly doubt that he welcomes my company, and I continue to seek reassurance to the point of it probably becoming annoying.
“Oh, you’d know if I didn’t want you around,” he said to me, chuckling a little, when I expressed again my uncertainty around invading his realm. I tried to let that sink in and trust that he appreciates my company.
And one other moment in the woods. My gear shifter was acting up, and I stopped to try to solve the issue. I didn’t have immediate success, and he came over to help. The first time that the two of us had been together not on our bikes. An odd shift of perspective, curiously intimate. He solved the issue (of course he did).
He arrived in my life at a moment when I needed a mentor, a coach, a friend in the forest. I can’t explain how I found the perfect person to fill that need, and I can only hope that I add something to his life too.