Wednesday, May. 17, 2023 @ 4:21 pm
Drum Circle II
We arrived at the beach after our ride yesterday, just as the sun was about to set. He’d messaged me the day before, and then again that afternoon, to coordinate to meet up, rather than me crisscrossing the park trying to find him. We rode together for two hours, lapping our usual routes, him taking me down a new side trail where I proceeded to launch into a salmonberry shrub.
“What are you doing in there?” he asked quizzically once he caught up to me as I was extracting myself, pulling sticks and leaves from my hair.
At the end of the ride, we head to the beach. We find a place in the sand, and I start to take off my shoes.
“Oh, so you’re going all in?!” he asks, referring to the commitment of getting sandy feet.
“Yes, of course, and I might even swim.”
I glance at him, nervous to remove my baggy riding clothes but also very much wanting to go into the cool ocean. He appears nonplussed and continues to settle in, finding his snack and his water.
“I’m going to have to trust you with my bicycle,” I comment.
He shrugs. “I’ll be here, no worries.”
I’m not typically self conscious, but after undressing I cross my arms across my chest and walk quickly to the ocean. I feel like I did when I was sixteen, nervous and concerned to bare my body.
But then, in the water, I relax. I wade to my waist, then dive under into the cool sea. The sun is hanging on the horizon, and the recently arrived forest fire smoke is reflecting pink and purple swirls. I stay out for a while, watching the seething crowd of the beach, feeling the drumming ebbing and flowing through my body.
I look back at Shawn, and he is amicably talking with a stranger seated nearby. If he’s watching me, he’s doing a good job of hiding it.
Back on the sand, I sit beside him on my small towel with my arms wrapped around my bruised and knobby knees, water dripping from the end of my braid. We talk and watch the sun go down and laugh at the funny conversations that we overhear.
We ride home in the dark, this time my headlight guiding our way.
I still think about him a lot, but perhaps not as much, because I know that there is a lot of time with him ahead.