Trying - Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023
Saturday, Jul. 22, 2023 @ 11:19 pm
On a rooftop in Capitol Hill, the sun setting, and someone is pouring rosé. Fireworks explode in the distance. We are in the flight path for SeaTac, and jets low fly overhead, one after another.
I shift in my chair, trying to find a position to ease the pain in my ribs.
I was going too fast. I keep replaying the moment, the skid through the gravelly corner, finding myself off the line I needed to take, seeing my front wheel go off the trail and into a rocky ditch. A sudden explosion of dust, pain, and fragmented rotted wood.
I lay there, my back against the soft, old stump. Searing heat across my chest. Can I breathe? Am I okay?
A man sees me and asks if I’m okay. I tell him that I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. And I pull up my shirt to look and there’s a wide slash across my ribs. I look at my hand, and my thumb doesn’t seem quite right.
I sat on the side of the trail waiting for the adrenaline to come out of my system. Not talking, just breathing, laying there against the stump, the soft wood supporting my hot, painful chest.
Here, now, on this rooftop, I know that I am lucky.
A wind picks up and ruffles the leaves of a large poplar. The roar of jets overhead. A crow caws in the distance.
Russell returned after five weeks in the field. He held me carefully, knowing the fragile tenderness of my body.
Someone pours more rosé. Turns on an old jazz song. Russell takes my hand, and we dance, everything slowed to half time, but still fluid and connected. The warm wind against my bare legs. The familiar movements that we’ve done so many times together.
The smell of the skin of his neck, and the sound of him sleeping beside me.
He has, without a doubt, become my home.