July 6th: Knowing How to Fall

I awkwardly danced with him at a friend’s wedding.

I can’t dance at all.

He could; he grew up in the country and danced all the time. People who grew up in the country were born knowing how to dance, he told me. People who grew up in the mountains were born knowing how to fall, I told him. He laughed at what he thought was a joke, and I wasn’t being funny. He didn’t know then that the song we danced to was one of my favourites; I didn’t tell him, not because I didn’t want him to know, but because I wasn’t sure if it was true; were we dancing to a song that was my favourite, or was it my favourite song because we were dancing to it? His hand rested real gentle on the small of my back and I was reminded of a rhyme my older sister taught me when we were little girls: criss cross, apple sauce, spider crawling up your back, light squeeze, cool breeze, now you have the shiveries.

Everyone in the wedding ducked out for cigarettes or fresh air, or both, in the rain; shining lights and the black April sky made mirrors of the large wet welts on the pavement. He and I ducked out, so hot was it in the conference room of the Inn where our friends had wedded. Neither of us smoked, so he brushed large droplets off a bench under the front entrance canopy and we sat.

-I’ve never met anyone who grew up in the Rockies, he said.

-There aren’t many of us around.

-Why’s that? He asked.

I shrugged and then we kissed; it was short and brief and his tongue was feather-light against my waiting lips. He lingered in front of me for a moment and I could smell after-dinner espresso on his gorgeous mouth. We stood up wordlessly and made our way back inside. My hair was dotted with rain drops, but the curls were still intact, bouncing along as I stepped beside him in my silvery high heels.

At the end of the night, I caught a taxi home with him, and neither of us said but a single word to each other. The back seat upholstery held a vintage leather-and-chemical-cleanser scent and I focused on its masculinity, its cliché, as I peered out the window at the world, black and glistening like hematite.

Thankfully, he was dropped off first. He threw too much money at the driver and smiled at me, so warmly I almost burst. We looked at each other, too confused and too heated to say anything other than “goodnight”.

I never saw him again after the wedding.


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