Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mosquito Kisses

I am biking South on Fir Road in Mishawaka. It’s sunset, and I am on the border of farmland. It smells like Galilee here. I am meeting Evan, but stymied by a train that separates my Lime Bike from his Audi. We are on our way to Jesus—not the second person of the Trinity—but Jésus, Mishawaka’s newest Latin grill and tequila bar.

A mosquito brushes against my face and I swat it away only to discover her stringy wings and legs on my fingers. A few seconds later, a small medallion of a bite appears on my lip.

In the car, we laugh about it.

I wait outside Crooked Ewe for Marie-Claire to get her bicycle. The Lime Bike is exactly where I left it, in a small patch of gravel next to the overflow parking, which dangerously abuts the concrete bridge with flimsy barrier above the little drainage creek that flows into the St. Joe river.

A Lime Bike waiting faithfully for you two hours after you have locked it is quite a testament of loyalty. I am beginning to feel fond of these tech age monsters. Even aesthetic nightmares can become Sirach’s faithful friend and sturdy shelter. (They are not very sturdy, to be frank.)

We bike to our homes which are across the street from one another. We go a different way than I came, and I don’t protest, but simply follow where she bikes, because sometimes the conversation is more important than figuring out where you are going. You’ll get there eventually, regardless. The path, while being quite material, is relatively irrelevant.

“Have a good night” I call as I continue on past her house across the street back to my house. As the words leave my mouth, I get the cozy sense of summer nights.

Summer nights offer a simplicity of childhood where you can stay out late with the other neighborhood children until what seemed like ungodly hours at the age of ten, before you are called back home. The essence of summer nights is freedom from a deadline. There are no trains to catch, there is no assignment due, there is no machination that requires anxiety or the constant humming of mental exertion to try to stay one step ahead of whatever task is looming.

Biking across the usually busy street in the quiet of street lamp twilight, I feel a delight which I think is best described as the delight of being competent or perhaps just content.

That delight is the feeling of having everything you needed for the journey: (Item one: iPhone to unlock Lime Bike, Item two: Lime Bike), for those tools to not be very much, and for the journey—one you never did before—to have been completed successfully.

The stars are liquid happiness, crystalized, and feel quite close in the chilly September air.

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