“Learning how to bend”

The first day of Daylight Savings Time is always pretty disorienting.  Maybe it’s the sun in my eyes when I wake up or the sudden longing for spring weather that comes out of nowhere.  Maybe it’s the hour of sleep I lost the night before.  But this year the first day of DST was more than disorienting.  By 11:00 a.m. I was seriously questioning my sanity.

I have a hard time letting people in.  I have a hard time trusting.  There, I said it.  (But more on that in a future Confession.)

That’s why I was shocked to find myself in the passenger seat of some sort of SUV I’d ridden in just once before, across from a driver I’d known for just a month, halfway to Tahoe.  We are chatting easily, like we have been every time we hang out.  He apologizes for trying to set me up with his roommate, goes on explaining some of his quirks–both good and bad–and we have a laugh about what could have been an extremely awkward situation.  We talk superficially about our own dating pasts–his crazy exes, my crazy exes, how we’re both tired of the dating game and are maybe a still a little too jaded by crazies to jump back into it.

The highway suddently gets steep–really steep–and I realize that we’re in the mountains.  My heart races a bit as I remember I’m alone with a guy I barely know hundreds of miles from home, heading to a remote place in the mountains.  Gulp.  Only the gulp wasn’t in my head, the way I’d meant it to be.  It was a real audible, *gulp.*  I realize this when the driver tilts his gaze toward me, smirking, then back to the road.

“Nervous?  I didn’t peg you for the nervous type.”

I flash a quick grin.  A quick nervous grin.  Not only do I have a hard time letting people in, I’m also not particularly accustomed to them getting in my head, reading my thoughts and feelings.  If he can tell that I’m suddenly having second thoughts about all this, this afternoon will redefine “awkward.”

“Wow, speechless too.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen you speechless!” he chuckles.  “Don’t worry, if my sister can do it, you can.  Just remember–if you lose control or get out of your comfort zone, just fall on your butt.”

I giggle, a little too hard since I’m more relieved than I ought to be.  Snowboarding.  He thinks I’m nervous about snowboarding for the first time.  Wait–yikes!  I am nervous about snowboarding for the first time.  My giggles die abruptly.

He flashes a smile and begins giving me pointers on technique and safety, covering as much as one can cover without physical demonstration.  I listen intently because I’m nervous and eager not to get hurt, but when I turn to look at his hands as he makes a gesture about good form I see that smile and my nerves melt into easy mellow pools, barely aware of the danger.  The danger of snowboarding, the danger of letting someone in, the danger of trusting.  That smile–that’s how I got here.

Gulp.

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