Thursday, Jun. 29, 2023 @ 12:50 am
The long days. The forest fire haze.
Riding with Shawn past sundown, the night air warm against my bare legs, the half moon glimmering off the still ocean.
He offers me trail mix, and I accept.
Russell is away. In the short moments when I am home alone, I am intensely lonely. An unbearable loneliness. I line up social activities for every night of the week.
One evening after sunset, Shawn and I ride over to visit Craig, our mutual friend, at the yacht. He brings us on board and tours us around, and we sit around in the bridge drinking beer. Deck staff are stacking chairs and collecting used wine glasses. Craig tells me to turn around, and he changes out of his white officer’s uniform.
The beer hits me quickly, coming off a long ride on an empty stomach. I’m euphoric. The night is perfect, and I am in love with everything and everyone. This city is so goddamn beautiful, and the three of us ride past Lost Lagoon in the dark. I take my hands off the handlebars of my bike and stretch my arms out wide, flying through the dark. Bats swoop overhead.
“It’s funny,” Craig says, swigging from his beer, foam slopping down the side of the can. The whirr of our bikes spinning in the dark. “I remember asking Shawn whether he’d met you, that there was this awesome woman Shannon with a big smile tearing up the trails in the park. And now you two are some sort of, I don’t know, bike couple or some shit like that.”
Shawn and I glance at each other. Craig’s cut to the truth of things.
“This is me,” I say, gesturing to my apartment building. Craig looks at us and rides slightly away as if to give us space for a romantic goodbye. He’s clearly made assumptions about us.
We’re momentarily alone. He doesn’t normally drink, and I suspect that he’s feeling similarly loose and bold.
“Awkward hug?” he suggests.
I nod. We hug with a gentle fierceness.
I'm overcome with gratitude for our unlikely friendship.
“Do you trust me?” he’d asked me, one night a few weeks ago.