It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.
First, though, Mom, let me start, well…not at the beginning. Anyways, I’m out on the stoop, chatting with Crossroads.Man. Sometimes, I really wish he had a mobile, but I digress. Stone age man that he is, that’s a pipedream.
He’d been over at the grocery store and wanted to kvetch about all the idiots he encountered. Some lady putting a bag of bread in the stroller she had with her (no idea if there was a baby, as he doesn’t find those details relevant), and taking it out again, and putting in another bag of bread, and re-arranging everything again, right in line ahead of him at the checkout.
You know, the whole just going in for a few things, pop in pop out. The best-laid plans.
And some other lady I guess was standing RIGHT in front of the chicken that was on sale he wanted, chatting with some long lost high school friend she hadn’t seen in a millennium, while he patiently stood there for 2 minutes waiting for them to move. Well, “patiently” being relative. He eventually speaks up and has some biting comment.
Remind me not to ever go grocery shopping with him, btw.
I just generally keep my mouth shut. Just let him spew his diatribe, and shake off his general disdain towards most other humans.
Present company excluded, apparently. Or just for now, hard to tell with him.
Sorry if I paint him a bad light Mom, seriously, though, he’s not THAT bad. But he does go on and on.
So I decided to dump some of my shites back at him, and explained to him peaceably, when he complained, that that was what I was doing. He said he was bored with what I said. I told him that’s fine, just nod and say “yes“, “really“, every now and again.
He was cool with that. Once I set him straight. I’m teaching him what I really mean by being honest.
Now he’s back at his place. I like that too.
Couple days off from work, for Canada Day. Things are good. Got my forklift license last week, just so you know. More money…and a double YEEHAA to that; as monies tight. But I kind of like it that way. I’m happier, usually. Strange that. But there you go.
Lots of good stuff. Lots. I like where I am, I have some friends. I have a bike. I’m going to be Fabulous at 50.
And then, that blue.eyed.man poked through my hedgerow, what was it? Last month? Needing something, or reminded of something? Totally confused about that mess.
So, I decided to venture forth, discover what exactly he wanted. And you know? I still have no idea. None.
June’s been a strange month, you know.
I guess that’s why I like cycling so much. When I’m on the bike my focus is completely different than when I walk or take the bus. I don’t think. I just look, feel, listen, taste, smell.
And so I ride almost EVERY day up this gradual incline, snaking my way towards the west end of the city.
You know what? It is true, truly a glorious feeling. Arriving to work sweaty, sure. And then come to such a physical job, and get more sweaty. Then ride home 30 minutes, almost all down hill.
Oh, cept for one spot. And I conquer that damn hill every day as I cycle home.
My knees may burn a bit, though less and less. My legs may ache, though less and less. And it is wonderful.
I have this whole new way I take home now. I know its twists and turns. Its speed. Its traffic. Its hills. It suits me. I love finding new ways.
So after sitting on the stoop yesterday after work after Crossroads left, wallowing maybe a bit, I went in and got Rose, put Irish in the house, and went out for a cycle…to clear the cobwebs, I suppose.
It’s the first time I’ve done that, you know. Yet, within clear and present danger of wallowing in that solitude, I decided to get out and ride and instead embrace it.
Turning left, right, through the village streets. With no direction in mind, but one. The debate of whether or not to attend to that, burned away as I cycled through the quiet streets, listening to the birds, smelling summer, as I admired all those beautiful Old South gardens.
All of a sudden, in the distance as I cycled up his street, still uncertain, well who was riding towards me?
Dear god, Mom, I swear I … well, stunned. I was stunned. Completely.
You know, I still was uncertain if I was going to turn in, or cycle by. But I had that decision taken from me, as there before me was blue.eyed.man on his vintage 10 speed coming towards me.
Going downtown, he said, to meet up with that mystery.man from last summer…you remember, the texting guy?
So, I said I’d travel with him that far, see how I felt.
Not giving him an inch, you know. Not a fraction. But I cycled up Ridout with him in tow. Turning onto King towards The Richmond, where they were meeting up; I finally dragged that out of him.
So, he locked up the bikes outside. I told him that made me nervous. We went inside, stood at that ancient bar and I made him buy me a beer, told him I was in the middle of writing, and needed to clear my head, and had brought no money with me.
He smiled, with this strange look of admiration, and said: “let’s go find him“. So we grabbed our beer and turned to the room, wandering to the other side.
As they chatted I sat down and took in the environs that surrounded me.
God, I love that place. Sitting there, the cool breezes of dusk flowing through the big open windows right there at the other crossroads; as music I know plays in the background.
People playing pool. Small groups of friends line the windows that look out onto Richmond, laughing. One of the women is wearing the most beautiful long flowing dress. And it’s a wonderful night. But all I can think about is Rose out there locked up with blue.eyed.man’s racing bike, and I’m worried.
I say to him “I swear, I won’t forgive myself if it’s stolen at The Richmond“. I told him how important she is to me earlier.
So he says, “lets go out for a smoke“.
And we do, and we chat, and…that’s when I told him I had to go.
It was the first time, but it’s not going to be the last, you know, that I choose instead to go my own way. I had a destination in mind, you know. So I told him so. Asked him if he wanted to come with me, but he declined.
Earlier, when we were cycling downtown, I told him we are friends, we can be good friends, maybe ONLY friends. And he said, “ok“.
So, I left him at The Richmond.
Oh, but as I was getting set to ride away? Yeah, he put his hand on my arm, and I turned and looked into those corn blue eyes, and he kissed me.
And I rode away anyway, cause I had a way in mind, and I would not be swayed.
Bet you can recognise these places, Mom. It was a great little trip down memory lane, you know. Going past “the hippie house” and then just around the block from there is the Colborne Street house Grandpa grew up in.
I need to maybe tell those stories, too I guess. Someday, someday.
And I made my way back to Richmond, right in the epicentre of it all. I got off Rose, and strolled along the sidewalk, taking in all the characters who were I guess out for something different than I was.
But I found my way back to the path, and I cycled along the river back to my village.
It was a good day. Even if I’m none the wiser.
But, yesterday as well, you know, Crossroads.Man and I were also more honest with one another, and that won’t be the last time either.
I told him, that I write about him. I told him what I call him, and what it means. He laughed, and said, “yes, death does have a way of finding us both“.
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