This morning I was antsy to get going, waiting for the rosy-fingered Dawn or the yellow-wreathed Maple to announce it was light enough to get on the way. But the day's light snuck in unannounced, somewhere above the cloud cover.
I was getting lonely on the commute, when finally I saw another cyclist—no, three cyclists in a tight, single-file group—just north of Airway. They were coming toward me, dressed in two and three layers of cool-weather bike wear, a mix of purples, pinks, blues, and black. I guessed that they were part of the organized weekly ride that leaves the Gazebo at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Then, halfway through the canopy behind the DPL headquarters, I saw an infrequent regular on the bikeway, pedalling fast on a hybrid, wearing casual work clothes, the front of his unzipped hoodie flapping below his arms.
Then finally, after crossing Linden, I saw the first pedestrians of the day: Millie and Gladys heading south. I slowed to their speed as I reached them, and we talked for a while, almost for three and a half minutes. Their health is holding up, but Gladys told me of her husband's mild stroke that was discovered only when he had an eye exam in July. They also shared that one of Millie's two husbands had died in the 70s and the second had died after they had divorced and Millie had dropped frequent contact with him. Gladys spoke of her first marriage to a man who abused her but who presented little drama when they divorced after seven years. And now Gladys has been married 46 years.
In the remainder of my ride, I was visited by happy memories of the 31 years together with Chuck:
- making a weekend visit to Ohio Caverns that was one of several day trips we took during my convalescence from a life-threatening auto-bike collision in 1984
- playing volleyball on a Friday night with a supportive group of gay men at the Pan-Pacific Pavilion in West Hollywood
- playing one of our weekly raquetball games at the downtown YMCA
- renewing our marriage promises in the garden chapel of Corpus Christi church on Forest Avenue
- snuggling together with a projector behind the bed for a screening of Wild Strawberries
- working together on the final-final-final edit of his book Dark Dreams 2.0
- riding together in our Toyota Celica to Wright State for the classes I attended and the classes he taught
- arriving late at night at the Headlands Center for the Arts after an evening dinner in San Francisco
- walking through the Jardin du Luxembourg on our week-long visit to Paris.
Temperature: 50 to 55°F at 07:25
Winds: calm to 5 to 10 to 15 mph from the nor south ea west
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed gear
Time: 00:46:53 for 11.95 miles
Heart rate: 126 bpm HRave, 153 bpm HRmax
Bikeway users: 6 cyclists, 3 pedestrians, 1 dogs
Playback of the ride