To my surprise when I arrive at his street, things are busy: there is a move and a delivery going on simultaneously. I’m fascinated by this, because my street is chock-a-block with moving vans and deliveries and frankly, it’s chaos. But that’s not what’s happening here.
Here’s what it looks like on my block in Chelsea on a normal day – and this is just the movers.
Nigel and I ride down his street...
By now I’ve become familiar with some of this route, and Nigel and I fall into easy conversation as we take a bridge over the Rhine Canal. It’s not until we’re on the other side that I realize – hey wait a minute - this bridge was built just for bikes! I wonder if that's why he took me here...
Soon enough, we’re out on the dijks again (it’s windier today):
And the only other people we see are just like us - on bikes.
“Nigel,” I say, “Thank you SO MUCH. I would never have seen any of this, never have done any of this without you. I had such a great time!”
At least I think that’s what I said.
But whatever I said, it must have been the wrong thing. He mumbles something about something and before I know it, he’s hit the road and is off. I watch him ride into the distance wondering if I could have handled that better… I doubt I’ll see him again, but I’ll never forget his kindness.
- - - - - - - - - - /- - - - - - - - - - -
The next day, I’m sitting in Schipol airport checking my email on WiFi when I see an email come in from Nigel. It is surprisingly...well, romantic. He says he wanted to hug me back - hard. (Oh, he was just shy! Damn that British reserve); says that he wishes I hadn’t gone home. I sit there glowing, taking it in. How long has it been? For the first time since I can remember, my imagination awakens to a feeling of possibility: the thought that anyone could find me desirable, even lovable.
Perhaps love is not over.
Perhaps life is not over.
Maybe I’ll be returning to Amsterdam after all.