Monday, May. 15, 2023 @ 4:49 pm
Nine O'Clock Gun
Riding home from work on Thursday, I came upon Shawn riding towards the park in the bicycle lane. I was riding my light and fast touring bicycle, so I gained on him steadily. I called out his name as I pulled up alongside him.
“Busted!” he said with a grin, looking pointedly at my bicycle, referencing our collective disdain for the gravel bikers that ride recklessly fast through the park.
“Are you coming out to ride tonight?” he asks as we near the turnoff to my apartment.
We meet up an hour later and ride together until the light in the forest has dimmed. We head out for a lap of the seawall and time ourselves perfectly to experience the explosion of the nine o’clock gun. The echo of the boom between the glass towers of Coal Harbour.
Our relationship has softened and become lighter, easier, less hesitant. Our conversations have become less halting. We ride together with a familiarity, often making the same decision simultaneously without the need to discuss.The familiar creases of his face. His warm presence a comfort to my anxiety.
I tell Russell about him. Not like this, of course, but enough for him to understand that we have become friends. Your mountain biking boyfriend he jokes, a reference similar to my other climbing boyfriend, Michael, with whom I occasionally climb.
At the end of our ride, the night now completely dark, his headlamp guiding our way. We stop in front of my building as if he’s dropping me off from a date.
“I’m going to the island on Friday, so I won’t be able to ride with you this weekend,” I tell him.
I see in his face that he is disappointed.
And I am too.