These were notes, just notes, and they were all I had that week. I was desperate for a blog, so I just put them on the screen but no matter how long I stared at them or scrolled up and down through them, they still weren’t a blog. Then I thought of the title, and damned if all that scribbling didn’t suddenly have a theme.
Her sweat coming back onto me. It flies free off her hair, so probably it originates from her nape or where her skin stretches across the flat plates of her shoulder blades. It lies in spatters on my bare arms. Later, after the ride, long after the drops have blown away or soaked in or dried to nothing, I lick a spot on my skin where her sweat was. I am embarrassed to do it, but when I taste nothing more exotic than my own salts I try once more in another place.
The way my forearms look when I am lean and rise from the saddle and stand and run on the pedals and swing the bike from side to side. There is a valley that runs between some junction of tendon and bone and muscle, a long and deep cleft that hadn’t existed in my arms for so much of my life, and even now does not show itself until I am pedaling like this. And the motion of the stance that creates this, the easy rhythm, the knowledge that I can pendulum like that longer than anyone not a cyclist would think possible, and the sense of the stored propulsion, the spring winding and releasing between legs and pedals, building and building and building a tension I can let go at any moment, and, also when I’m riding in this manner, the way the bike feels in front of me then behind me as much as under me, some unsettling and mercifully vague hint of erotic suggestion in the motion, like — again, I am embarrassed — lovers changing position without cessation, one taking control of the other yet both complicit. And, finally, the mix of all these feelings, the complexity without end that surges out of such a simple movement and moment.
How I miss the bike when I do not want to be on it at all, how I get to the state of not wanting to be on a bike by wanting to riding it so much, and how it becomes such a part of my life—of me—that I am driven from it by a fatigue that is more profound than physical yet is not in any sense spiritual or emotional, each of which connote some separation from self. It is, again, embarrassingly, most like who I am rather than what I simply feel. And on the days when I cannot stand to be on a bike, I am not sure if I more miss the biking or the wanting to be biking. And when I get back on, how there is no difference at all between the two.
It was a good week of riding.
Originally published in The Selection, August 3, 2012