Thursday, Aug. 06, 2020 @ 1:37 pm
I spend the day on a construction site inspecting the installation of a new bridge.
I lean against a temporary railing and watch the contractor work. The heat from the sun is relentless. Dust billows up from the hole as gravel is poured from the bucket of an excavator. I’m wearing jeans for the first time in weeks. Months? My hair braided long down my back under my white hard hat.
Cars honk in frustration of the traffic snarl. A man whistles from a car as he drives past. And later, another similar cat call. I look around, to see who the man is whistling at. There is nobody else here; everyone else is in the hole below ground.
I talk with the superintendent and the foreman. The operator pauses occasionally to confirm that their work conforms to the design.
I am grateful that my life has led me to be the one above ground. That I have navigated the gender stereotypes and am now the one standing here above while white men work in the hole below. I am confident. I know what I need to see. And I know that they are required to respect me.
The site shuts down at 3:30pm. I take a final series of photos and then drive across the city to Russell’s.
I enter his apartment, hot and dusty. Strip off my jeans. Grab my bikini from my drawer in his bedroom.
“Are you coming with me?” I ask him, tying the top behind my neck. He jumps up from the couch and nods; the baseball game can wait.
We walk across the road to the beach in flip flops. Walk without hesitation into the water.
We swim together and talk about our days. I swim up to him and kiss his salty face, then dive under the water.
Being loved is a gift. Having someone to love is a gift.
This time, loving is effortless.
Loving him is effortless.