We met downtown after work. She works in some corporate office — insurance? until she goes to school this fall. I worked that day at the transition house/rape crisis centre. we’d planned this for a couple of weeks. It was a warm evening. We had ice cream (she bought–a gift) and walked down to the beach.
That slide looks fun. She said. Or did I say that?
the slide is in English Bay. When the tide is up (like it was at the time of this conversation) you can swim out to it and slide down from a GREAT HEIGHT into the ocean.
Wanna strip off and go in our underwear? i said
no way! she said
I started emptying my pockets. earplugs (this is my homicide prevention kit, i told her and she laughed and said -ever since you told me that about everyone’s ipods competing for airspace on the bus, that bugs me too-), a rock, my inhaler, a receipt a ten-dollar bill some change a paper clip my wallet. I put it into my pack. my shoes are already off, socks rolled into them.
I said, let’s go in our clothes, then–you’ve got office-y clothes, are those linen? they’ll dry quick–
she takes off her necklace and her rings, grinning and shaking her head, -i don’t know about this- she says -what about our stuff?
These young people look like they’ll stay and look after it, i said to her and went to ask them, –while we fling ourselves, fully clothed, into the ocean, will you watch our stuff?
they smiled and said okay and looked at us like we were kind of weird.
We have this kind of relationship, she and I. It’s always been, since she was a child, that one or the other of us would goad the other into something daring, foolhardy, exciting.
we haven’t done this kind of thing since she was a child.
We are beginning again.
we rushed into the water, screaming before we left the beach –YIYIYIYIYI!–and then there we were chest deep in salt water, pebbles and barnacles nipping our toes.
but the salt, oh it heals, yes.
we looked at each other. we laughed and laughed and gasped at the cold.
Not since she was a child.
Do you remember, I asked, when we rented one of those tandem bikes and got a flat before we were half way? And i pushed it mostly with you on it and we got hot dogs and went around the seawall anyway and then i got my money back? do you remember?
No. she said. no i don’t. but i remember roller blading with you.
Something about spontaneous things, -she said- i hope my clothes aren’t see-through-
she climbed onto the raft with the slide first. Am i see-through? she said.
Nope, i said, not you or your clothes.
we both went sliding twice. i got some mysterious cuts on my face–my glasses somehow? a random barnacle?
She laughed. oh this is fun. what a good idea.
the salt. it heals.
and we rode the bus home. pools forming at our feet. we acted like we were like everyone else–dry and tired from work. except for the moments when we’d catch each others eye and smile.