“Oh my lover, my lover, my love. We can never go back.” –Fake it, Bastille
As I rise to the East the road curves North and homeward. In this moment, the angle affords a singular and spectacular view; mountains span the horizon to my left and the mile high city stands on my right. It captures me in ecstasy. Such it is and has been all summer until the twilight fades into fall. I am centered between the twinkling skyline and the silhouette of the Front Range. Their defining figure plays with the evening colors until they dissolve into one another. All this I witness for a brief moment and it is enough. There is nothing like Colorado. This place knows my heart. The outline of the Rockies accompanies me a little farther before night claims the sky.
Husband got a bike this year. Everyone who hears asks the same question about life insurance. I think they misunderstand. The bike is not the danger. But belief is tested the first time I climb on the back. Boots hooked onto the pedals, my hands clasped across his chest. I learn quickly to lean in.
Riding is interesting at first. I’m fascinated to watch my companion of anxiety scamper to keep up. There’s simply no room. I’m never so fully present as I am on this bike. I am more than fearless. I am still.
We take it out almost every date night. Weather permitting, or not. I realize I’ve never liked the word balance, until now. As we hurtle down the road, with only the wind at our sides I accept the change in belief.
The religious use of the word balance is either a substitute for compensation or dismissed as myth. I think it is so because we all long for it and can’t bear to believe it exists because that would mean we haven’t found it yet. Now that I’ve ridden on the back of a motorcycle the evidence cannot be dismissed.
Interestingly, false balance is associated with oppression, injustice, and inequality. It is a term of measurement. So is the word for honor. It means to weigh.
As a parent I muse upon this idea of center. You cannot be a father who sees their son unless you know and love the boy you once were. You cannot be a mother who sees her daughter until you find and love the girl you lost.
To be a lover you must first know your own beloved.
Justice is a woman blindfolded with bare arms outstretched who spins no plates and holds only two. Her hand is center enough to carry in truth whatever is placed in her care. Equality and equity once found will be clearly seen. You can only hide what is too heavy to bear for so long.
My husband and I never dated, we were not allowed to be alone together before we were married. I won’t even dignify the constraints put upon our relationship with a name. With the exception of two appeals, we traveled around carrying an assortment of chaperones in the back seat of his Dodge Stratus. Sometimes they were parents, mostly siblings, and never friends. The witnesses accessory to the repeated molestation of privacy. On one occasion two little brothers brought a cymbal apiece, making noise for amusement. The crash a metaphorical prison break from complicit violation. Consent was not a word in our language and therefore conceivable to none. Surrounded by a community of opinionated informants, the death toll rose. These specters, collected from brokenhearted pasts, devised trialed futures for redemption; desperate to witness their resuscitated salvation.
To make statutory this methodology, one authority would always use the same analogy. It was like frosting a cake. They wanted to make sure things were done right so that they had enough left. As if the right to love can be handed out through indulgences and degrees of permission slips.
It amuses me that the latest weddings I’ve attended have naked cakes.
The evening of my proposal was on one of the two singular occasions alone. He asked me to marry him overlooking the sunset on a street called starlight. I was glad to be the only one present. But after we returned home fifteen minutes past curfew and the champagne was put away and almost all had gone to bed, I braced myself for the ritual midnight inquisition composed of questions that had become a business to ask. Knowing that no matter how I answered I would never be right or have any secrets left.
I survived in tact through the rules of engagement, but like my motherhood the aching remains for time and space that was stolen. I was denied the experience of falling in love. It is a story I will never know. The cost of the forced hyper vigilance I learned to endure, or escape, the emotional circumcision is only forgiven, not repaid. I won’t repeat future harm for past hurt, so I speak in to my story with prophetic courage and hope. This means letting go of saying it perfectly right and missing what’s left of my heart, lowering my expectations for healing to make love sustainable in the middle.
I am one who waits expectantly and thus I find myself surprised by joy, on a bike.
Riding a motorcycle isn’t about having just enough right and just enough left.
No longer in a barred metal frame, where chaperones of fear and restriction may sit and wave their symbols. It is only the wind that sings in our ears telling us it is good. My hands laced across his chest, eyes ahead, holding tension in space to accommodate the unexpected.
I absorb the present, when he inhales, and feel my grip expand. My legs press against and surround him, anticipating the movement in the path ahead of us. He accelerates. Individuation of center unites in momentum; the warmth of one other caressed by the edge in the night air. We are alone, together, the most vulnerable travelers on the road and therefore the most alive. My only authority the presence of a body surrounding his, aligned within, aware without.
We rise up to the East as the road curves North and homeward. In this moment, the angle affords a singular and spectacular view of both the mile high city and it’s mountains upon my right and left. Amygdala quiets and the mounting freedom seers an overlay of gold upon war memorials of limits.
The throttle opens up, an impetus to presence and intensity, towards rest. With momentum and traction we sway in trust. Fresh air is startling me back to life. This is the dangerous birth of wild.
We find ourselves on a straight way. A street called Sunshine, with two lanes and nowhere to be. We both let go, arms outstretched and when I embrace him again he clasps his hand over mine; the moment’s remittance, a seal. Heart of my own heart, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. I am hemmed in by visionary love and it is here…
At the intersection of risk and breath.
“I have become in his eyes as one who finds peace.” -Song of Solomon 8:10
“I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.” -Toni Morrison, Jazz