When I first met you last August on a bike outing, I quite liked you. We had important similarities and you were pleasant and handsome. I started going to the milongas where you went and texting you occasionally. I flirted with you for several weeks, you seemed to enjoy that for the most part and flirted back – maybe, but didn’t exactly take it anywhere, so I gave up.
I carried on going to the same milongas though, now and then, because that was fun enough in itself. On Christmas Eve last year, you had the closing shift, and I stayed to help out with clean up. Primarily, because that was a volunteer run event and for once, I didn’t have work the next day. We left at the same time and cycled together for a few blocks. As we chatted, we made a plan to meet up the next day for a bike ride.
We met in the morning in the Presidio, went over the Golden Gate Bridge, and did the Hawk Hill Loop. We stopped at lookouts, then locked the bikes by a black sand Rodeo beach and went for a walk there and up the hill next to the beach. We had a snack and on the bench overlooking the ocean and then sat there, enjoying the tranquil view and the Winter sun. We talked about traveling, biking, languages, cooking. We didn’t talk for stretches of time. When we returned to the city, you saw me to my front door and gave me a hug and one of those tango friend kisses on the lips that don’t mean anything much. It was a great non-date! (Non-date is when I get to spend time with a friendly person whom I like, and it looks like a date, but for whatever reason it isn’t.)
I went on a road trip the next day. We texted back and forth a few times, but then that sort of dwindled. I saw you now and then at milongas. Once I ran into you on the street, when we were on our way to different yoga classes. We chatted for a few minutes about that and went our ways.
We were at the same Christmas brunch last week. “What have you been up to lately?” I asked. “Oh, just a lot of sailing,” you’ve replied.
As the sitting room filled, we cuddled next to each other. Your embrace was warm and friendly. “So, what have you learned or read recently?” I asked. “These days all I learn and read is about sailing,” you said, and then you told me about a book you’ve read about sailing, and how you go to the marina where you are part of a club, and go out into the bay and study with different skippers. You told me how you got stuck in the mud getting in or out of the harbor recently, and how nice and helpful your tutors were. You told me how some time soon you would have to learn enough to be able to teach. We talked about the responsibility that comes with that. We talked about acting with confidence and knowing you may be wrong (essential to learning, to teaching, to leadership).
Note to self: look for ways to ask the right question. Many people would have something dear to them, universally relatable, and interesting to share; they won’t share until I ask them to and ask well enough.
We danced for a few songs in the kitchen. I teased you about our lovely tradition of spending the Christmas together. A few party guests, strangers to both of us, asked if we were a couple. No, we said, just friends. I left when the sun was still up. Hugged and kissed you in a tango friend kind of way that didn’t mean anything much.
“It was great hanging out with you today! See you soon!” you messaged me. “Yes!” I replied, “You too. See you soon! What are you up to next Christmas?”