Friday, July 5, 2013
music to like boys to, volume 2c: postcards from tiny islands.
Third in a series. Catch up here, and then here.
You arrive on a rainy Thursday, feeling somewhat crazed. He's not waiting for you by the baggage carousel and for a moment you wonder, did I make him up? Is this a trick? And then suddenly there he is, and suddenly you're hugging awkwardly, and suddenly you're in a taxi to the Best Western downtown. You lean into him carefully as the cab crawls down wet streets. Don't tell them you're sharing the room with me, you warn him, suddenly certain that you want him to stay. Do you WANT me to share? he asks. Of course, you reply, I just don't want to have to pay the extra ten bucks. It's more than that, though. It's also that you like sharing a secret.
One day you rent a car, and at first neither of you see quite sure what to do with it. You drive to his house so he can pick up a change of clothes, and then downtown, and then finally back to the hotel to park it before walking back up the block to the pub. It's cool and drizzly out, and after a walk along the waterfront you scurry back to the hotel for a nap. You fall asleep as he bearhugs you close. When you stir, and decide to roll over, he doesn't seem to wake up, but he loosens his hold, opens his arms, lets you get settled before gently wrapping them around you again. Oh man, you think. Oh man.
The next morning you head out on the Trans Canada toward the west side of the island, en route to a cottage on a cliff occupied by an old friend. He doesn't have a license, or much of a sense of direction. You hate driving. I hate driving, you tell him, white knuckles on the steering wheel. Maybe let's pull over and check the map, he replies. He's steady, somehow, in spite of it all. He buys you a bag of Cheezies at the gas station. I've been here before, you think.
Having found your bearings, you keep driving. He puts on the latest playlist he made you and tells you why he chose each particular song. Your heart melts and you get only slightly lost on red dirt backroads. At the cottage there are little girls offering copious high-fives, treks through sleeping lofts and power tool nooks and half-built forest forts. Your dear friend leads everyone down to the beach as the tide is coming in, and as you dip your feet in the shallow water, tiny crabs scuttling around your feet, he wanders off and looks at the erosion lines along the red rock. It's pretty neat, he says, interested and excited at the idea that his little island is sinking into the sea. I read somewhere that in a hundred years none of this will even exist anymore, he tells you. Leave it to you to find the endearing quality in someone fascinated with end times.
The girls send you on your way with a bouquet of wildflowers in a juice glass and you drive onward. You choose to trust the insane GPS on your new Fancy Phone and it leads you down every unmarked country road between Bedeque and Cavendish. Everything is so green and so vast. He is an incredibly good sport about following you around Green Gables. In the front entry you spot a 1980s era phone on a low shelf and shout, Look, it's Anne's original touchtone. The historical interpreters are remarkably cheerful about your outburst. Well, she had to call Diana SOMEHOW, one replies. That was surprisingly fun, he tells you in the car on the drive home, soundtracked by Joel Plaskett. You feel warm and tired and if you weren't in the driver's seat you'd lean right over and put your head on his shoulder.
The afternoon nap becomes a ritual, and when you wake up in his arms again you don't move right away. You don't want it to be over quite yet. You order pizza and watch episodes of the Simpsons with the commentary track on, half listening and half narrating the episodes to each other. It's Saturday night, and you head to the bar. The guy working the door is a friend of his and gives you a deal on the cover. Later when he goes back to thank him, the doorman smiles knowingly and says, I didn't want you to look bad in front of your guest. The bar is packed and his cousin's band is playing but you spend most of the evening out on the back porch, giggling and giddy. At one point when you return from inside, it takes you a few minutes to sneak your way back into the seat next to his, and when you make it he tells you, Boy am I glad to be sitting next to you again.
Me too, you reply.
Later on, you walk back to the hotel in the rain. You have an umbrella, but you don't bother to get it out. This is something, you both admit to each other. This is definitely something.