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A Brightness - Tuesday, May. 30, 2023
Wednesday, May. 24, 2023 @ 5:40 pm
We stand under the glow of an amber streetlight in front of my apartment straddling our bikes. I’d imagined the sweetness of this moment, daydreaming of what he’d say, of how I’d feel.
It happened, the flushing out of our friendship, our relationship. He said many things, and I wish that I’d listened more closely and memorized them all.
“I’m really glad that we met that day in the park.”
“We just seem to align well together.”
“You’re an awesome person to spend time with.”
“This was a really good talk. Again, I’ll say it again, I’m so glad that I met you.”
He said all of these things in the minutes that it took to cycle from Third Beach to English Bay following me opening up about my relationship history and how he fits into my healing from an emotionally abusive relationship.
“Every time you look over your shoulder to make sure that I’m behind you, a little part of me is stitched up. One time when my ex and I were on a ride together, he turned around and yelled at me Are you even trying? because I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t know how to stand up to his criticism. I continually tried to ride faster, to better meet his expectations. Of course, my efforts were never enough.”
He’s quietly listening and then says, “I wouldn’t want to leave anyone behind.”
Each night with him has magic. We ride past the outdoor amphitheater and stand together listening to the band play, the stars coming out overhead. We work together to clean up a trail, working side by side to complete the project. He coaches me to ride a challenging feature, standing there patiently while I fail over and over again but then finally succeed. Because of him being there.
We stand there under the streetlight, and his face is warm and open. His eyes are bright, and he is looking directly at me. I feel flayed open and tender but also safe and comforted.
What better feeling is there in life than to be understood, cared for, and seen? What better feeling is there than to feel interesting and included?
This, my relationship with Shawn, has shown me more about my needs. I didn’t realize what had been happening over the last few weeks, but now I see it clearly. I didn’t expect this from him, a quiet man with greying hair and working hands who I met in the woods through happenstance. Gaining this type of clarity, and gaining more relational healing, has arrived perfectly into my life.
I watch him cycle away into the night, and I head up into my apartment. Separate but together. Our lives now intertwined, our effects on each other exposed and confirmed, a mutual enjoyment and value.
I'm so happy to have a new friend.