The restaurant is intimate, ten tables at best. Dark wood compliments the maroon decor and subtle lighting casts an inviting glow. The near-impossible wait to get seated now seems so worth it. He eyes the menu, while I eye him. Defined jawline. Slight five o’clock shadow. Vibrant hazel eyes. It’s all perfection, really. I haven’t grown tired of that face since the moment we met. After the wine is uncorked, the lush Rioja warms our bodies and the conversation too. We reminisce about our journey, comforted by the shared transparency. The Spanish tapas arrive: grilled zucchini with roasted pecans and chicken cabrales empanadas, to name a few. “Delicious” isn’t even the word. The evening is enjoyable, just like ours always are. And the best part is, the night only intensifies as it progresses.
As fate has it, the elements are aligned for a perfect day at the beach. A ripe 74 degrees layered with a light breeze beckons us. We leave his apartment, only steps from the sand. I insist on bathing him in sunscreen because I care about his future state. He momentarily feigns resistance, but his adoration is obvious. We lay side by side, sprawled on the blanket, fingers interlaced. He switches on the latest Radiolab podcast and the topic is “space.” His favorite. He doesn’t know it, but his appreciation for science and learning makes me appreciate him even more. We don’t talk, just simply listen. All around us, there’s movement. People splashing in the salty ocean water. Bodies biking down the windy beach path to Venice. Not us. And in this moment, if time decided to stand still, I wouldn’t mind at all.
Flashbacks. N is out of town for an entire week and my only company is the memories – our collection of memories from last weekened that I wish could repeat in the coming days. After spending significant time with someone, it becomes second nature. You grow accustomed to their companionship. Their habits. Their touch…yes, especially their touch. Truth be told, I’m solitary by nature and I enjoy basking in the “me” time. But deep down, I prefer the “we” time. Holidays seem to jerk life into hyperspeed; the long-awaited next Monday will arrive soon enough. N, I know you’re reading this right now, a time zone ahead, from across the country. And well, all I can say to you is…