Lemon Pistachio Biscotti
by Patricia Parkinson
I sit on a bench in the middle of my life. To my left is the border, the United States and the lights of Semiahmoo Resort. I stayed there on my honeymoon, in an ocean front suite, fell asleep in my wedding gown while my then-husband watched the Seattle Super Sonics crash and burn in overtime. I looked like a cartoon character, flat on my back, satin shoes, dyed to match, sticking out from my crinoline. The dress now lies in a dry cleaning box like a body in a coffin.
I’m at the beach with my boyfriend. We came for dinner at the pub and watched the hockey game. New man; new sport. We’ve stopped for hot chocolate and biscotti on the way back to the car. The bench backs onto a coffee shop. The meeting place of our first date, two and half years ago.
He wasn’t my usual type. But I wanted someone that was as far removed from my ex as possible. No suits. Joes’ a biker. Correction; was a biker. He told me this that day drinking coffee in the Indian summer sun with a look of good times remembered in his eyes. I imagined him riding his Harley, his hair, when he had any, flying out behind him. Maybe that’s what he misses, his hair. He’s shown me pictures; Joe standing in front of his bike, fingering the photographers, fingering the world.
“What’s over there?” I ask between sips. “Is that Vancouver?”
“Yah. English Bay. You remember that night at Crescent Beach? The fireworks?” He turns, gives me the same look as the day we met, and runs his finger down the length of my nose, “That was our view.”
“Just a different vantage point, I guess.” I do remember.
Every year, Vancouver hosts, “Symphony of Fire.” Countries from around the world launch fireballs and confetti bombs, synchronized to music, from a barge in the harbour. It’s pandemonium trying to get into the city, let alone park. Last summer, Joe and I decided to have a private viewing, ten miles away.
Train tracks border the seaside village of Crescent Beach. I lift my feet and make a wish when we cross them. Old cottages, some painted purple or bright yellow; others, their original shingles bleached white, line winding roads that follow the ocean. There’s a secluded section of sand, accessible by trails known only to locals. I found my first seashell there when I was four years old. I keep it in a box with my wedding ring and Eric Clapton ticket stub.
Like kids cutting across the neighbours’ yard, Joe and I stifled giggles as we crept along the path. When he cleared my way past the overgrowth at the end and I stepped out from beneath his arm, my wish came true. Seeing the ocean is how it must feel to see your child - familiar and fascinating.
I lay down the blanket and buried my feet. Joe buried our wine in the surf. We watched as the sun set, an orange, rolling off a counter, slipping past the horizon, beyond my reach. Laughing, we held our stomachs and each other when the fireworks pinpricked the night sky.
We made quiet love. Wrapped the blanket around us like a sleeping bag and spooned. Whispered promises were made, and kept, there.
I do remember.
Propose to me, biker man, on this spring night. My coat’s on, but open to possibility. Tattoo my name on your bicep, and we’ll get married in jeans and white gauze shirts in front of this bench. I’ll toss my bouquet off the end of the pier and our future will be covered in freesia. Look at me and see I’m familiar and fascinating to you.
Joe stares at the stars. Dreaming, of a place he’s never been, of a ride he’s yet to make. He sits down, takes my cold hand between his and warms it with his breath. The sea licks the rocks, and I dust crumbs of lemon pistachio biscotti from his beard.
Patricia Parkinson is a chameleon. She lives in the suburbs of Langley, British Columbia with her husband and two kids who see through her fear and facade and make her laugh. She's very happy. Her work can be seen in NFG, the great 69'er, Smokelong Quarterly, Word Riot, Gator Springs Gazette, Edifice Wrecked and Uber. Contact Patricia.