I'm running along a lonely canal road, giggling at the thought of seeing Kevin coming down the trail towards me, amused also at the silliness of the ritual. I just saw him at home and yet there is something different about seeing him coming down the trail on his bike, I know it's him as soon as he turns the corner. Nobody would deny that Kevin has an athletic presence about him, no matter what sport. In cycling he always makes the bike seem invisible underneath him. And I will know by the velocity, the cadence.....
The ritual is actually rather ridiculous .... Kevin bikes out to the pickle ball courts and I drive the car. I bring the racquets, spare balls, shoes designed for pickle ball, the six water bottles and the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that we will chow during a break during the three hour session.
So while Kevin rides his bike, a twenty to thirty minute ride along the river and canal trails, I drive ... Then, for my warm up, I take off on a three mile run that overlaps his course only for a half mile. If I don't dawdle, I will be half way through my run when I will see him barreling toward me, in a manner that I recognize long before I can identify him specifically.
On days that I find him, out along the road next to the canal, I will keep running toward him with arms stretched out to receive him
.... As if we are secret lovers and this is our rendezvous point
.... Or as if we were back in the Navy, my officer (and a gentleman) walking off the bridge of a huge boat ...him in a beige Navy uniform decorated with all the pins that provide his exact rank...And me in a new outfit with matching shoes, sporting bright lipstick that accentuates an endless smile. The walk from the boat to me always seemed to be a 1/2 mile and I would be so nervous that I could do nothing but giggle.
On today's run, however, I don't see him. I reach the corner of where I turn to add in an extra mile and he continues on to reach the pickle ball courts. I either ran too slow or arrived too early. But I'm still laughing, the perfume commercial was flawed today and so I finish up the extra mile without my kiss.
When I reach the car he has already changed his bike shoes to pickle ball shoes and been recruited to play in one of the more advanced games. I wave the hello wave when he pauses between serves, the idea of the canal kiss would seem ridiculously now.
And so even though today is not my day, I still stop for a moment to watch him on the court; he hits the ball with such power, turning the racquet into a weapon.
The one I call my husband.