One beer somehow turned into bar time. It’s funny how that happens, he reflected, and surprisingly nice, to be captivated by somebody, to lose time. He was far from home and tipsy enough to not dare a long and treacherous drive through roaming wildlife and small town cops. The college kids around them (they were older, not much wiser, but just enough) paired off and returned to their flats or dorms or squats to continue drinking, to eat greasy food at roadside diners, or to pair awkwardly with other desperate two a.m. singles for late night drunken mistakes. They, though, did something more intimate, and more rare; they walked, hand in hand, around a man made lagoon.
It was a lazy, hazy summer night. They walked, and they talked, and they laughed. He didn’t plan for it to be a hand in hand deal, but after an awkward touch (so endearing, those weird moments, upon meeting somebody new) he reached over, and she took his hand, and that was that. He sweat the alcohol out, but was comfortable enough in her presence not to feel self conscious and gross.
It was simply them, a dozen bullfrogs, and one man with a butterfly net.
He had never walked with a woman quite like her. She was tiny and ferocious. She was petite, and shorter than he, which was shocking as he was, and always had been, the smallest person he knew. Her voice was a paradox; loud, boisterous. Her words carried gravity and her laughter shook trees. Later, when she would walk home alone as he returned to his car, he would check on her, to make sure she returned safely, as a good man should do, but he had no worries; God help the poor motherfucker that would cross her path with ill intentions.
With every other adult in his life, he was forced to keep up. The world does not slow down for you. He had realized this a long, long time ago. You adjust, you adapt, or you don’t survive, and he had done just that. He lived in a world of long legs and quick gaits, and he kept up the best he knew how, which wasn’t bad, all things considered. He enjoyed the moments when he could walk by himself, though, at his own pace, and in his own time. To not rush. To notice things around him. To breathe and to experience and to feel.
She walked at his pace, in his time, and they listened to the bullfrogs and they breathed the summer air. Past lamp posts and college castles. Their footfalls synced off of cobbled streets and graveled paths.
The world was big, much bigger than they, but they had learned to adjust. Now they stood, side by side, hand in hand, and they were tiny still, but they were tiny together, and appeared amazingly normal, which neither he nor she hand never experienced before.
It was a brief moment in time, but it was a moment still; warm, rare, and intimate, and worth remembering.