“What?” He caught me glancing his way.
“Are you drawing me?”
“Because I can’t draw people. I have a Picasso-esque style, and not in a good way.”
He nodded and cast his line again. I liked that he knew who Picasso was. I liked that he possessed a sense of humor. I liked that he made me fried chicken and peach cobbler and put chocolates on my pillow. I liked when he taught me to fish or cut into a fish he wrapped his arms around me. I liked his arms around me for any reason. I liked that he donated firewood to families who needed an extra hand during the winter.
He pulled another fish from the creek. He really was quite good at this. I liked that he teased me a little about the fish names, but not ridiculously, and not now. I liked that he let me drive his truck. I liked that he invited me here this weekend. I tried to think of other things I liked about him. I wanted the list to be longer.
I liked his job, but was that more about financial security? I liked his work ethic and the way he balanced his life, although, I hadn’t actually seen it, although this weekend could be an example. Maybe he works twenty-hour days and has no time during the week for an extra someone in his life. He has been single a while, or so I’d been told.
I don’t know anything about his previous lives: his wife, the military, his family, his parents. I wanted to ask him about all of this, but I felt like asking him was always a special request, like a privilege to be obtained, and even then I’d still only know a small fraction. He didn’t share willingly, at least not most of the time. Admittedly, there were parts of my life I didn’t share, but often with me it was the same story, just a different man, and other men don’t seem to care about those kinds of life stories anyway.
Another bite on his line and he was zipping right along. I wondered what his secret was.
“How hungry are you?”
“One is fine, if you don’t want to stay out here too long.”
He seemed ambivalent about me. He’s not really shown much interest. Separate tents? Never once trying to hold my hand. Definitely no kisses or any signs of affection. But, nonetheless, caring and thoughtful and giving. I didn’t think those were the same things, though.
Maybe I just needed to make a move and see if there is any interest. But how? We’ve been here for almost forty-five minutes and we’d hardly spoken. Granted, I enjoyed the quiet, but if I knew how he felt, I might be more at ease around him. I did still feel naive and clumsy, even if I only suffered one really awkward moment. Well, two, counting the fish conversation. Three, if I count my little tirade about military service. Oh, plus tugging on the locked door of the truck.
When he walked back over to me to retrieve his fishing pole, I could have touched him, gently, along his waist or his back, somewhere subtle, but warmly. His skin was probably cold from the water and my touch might have felt soothing. I wonder why it never occurred to me when I was standing there to touch him. I could have already made my move rather than sitting here thinking about it. Maybe I didn’t want him as organically as I thought I did.
I considered sincerely about my prospects with the Lumberjack, and although they seemed bleak, maybe I should just see how the rest of the weekend goes. Besides, after that, he won’t be back in the office, or possibly even back in my life. The thought saddened me, but accepting the reality, logically, calmly, sincerely, sat peacefully with me.
“Alright,” he weakly cheered as he pulled another trout from the water. “I think that ought to do it.” He tied them all together with extra fishing line and dangled them from the hook so he could easily carry them from the end of the rod. He retrieved his shirts, only wearing the one and draping the wet one over the fishing pole, and dropping his hat neatly over his curls. He grabbed his tackle box and he was ready to go.
“You coming?” If I knew he would finish so quickly, I would have wrapped up my creative project sooner.
“Yes, I’m coming.” At least he waited for me, but he still didn’t walk with me.