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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Say Anything

You haven't lived until a muscular hunk with a hairy chest has fed you grilled mango slices. Okay, I surrender. I'm finished. Done in. Bowled over.

Yes, I know you have heard me say things like this before. I've considered renaming this blog "Hot Toddy's Broken Record". I've fallen for many guys in the past, and I've been scraped up pretty badly from my being a slave to Venus. I think, however, after hiking this weekend with Thor, I'm pretty much, um, well, toast.

On Friday I received an invitation to go hiking the next day. I practically jumped through the phone as a deep bass voice on the other end told me he bought vegetables to grill for me. "Do you want to go with me?" he asked. Somehow, I managed to squeeze out the word, "yes", and I hung up. Then, out of nervousness, I immediately called my bank to check my balance. I don't know why I check my bank balance when I'm nervous, but it is better than biting my fingernails. The thing is, I was so nervous that I accidentally pushed the button for Spanish. I don't speak Spanish, but I went ahead and listened to a list of my most recent transactions. Apparently, I like to buy things that cost cinco-something.

Friday night I went to bed and tried to sleep. Instead I stared at the ceiling and waited for morning to come as if Santa was on his way with toys and beefcake. Saturday morning I pulled myself together and drove over to Thor's place. I remember nothing about the drive over. I may as well have been pulled over for driving under the influence, because I was definitely under the influence of some unidentified toxin. When I arrived at his place, I had butterflies in my stomach. Do you know how many years it has been since I felt actual butterflies? I do. It's been 10 years.

In the truck, I barely said a word to Thor, but he kept looking over at me and laughing a little just before turning away. I wondered if he was nervous. Maybe riding with a comatose guy next to him made him uncomfortable, I have no idea. After we pulled into the parking area, Thor shoved a couple bottles of propane in the waist of his jeans, which proved to be strangely erotic. Then he picked up the cooler and the grill. I carried, like, a bag or something. I don't remember.

We set up our picnic spot and left right away to go hiking. I was terrified. Not because of the wildlife or threat of poison ivy. No, I was terrified because Thor insisted that we leave a bottle of rum and a bottle of whiskey at the picnic site. Unattended!? For just anyone to come along and steal? It was at this point that I surrendered to Thor and realized this relationship will never work if I don't learn to trust him. So, glancing back at the paper bag holding our spirits, I said a silent prayer that no harm would come to Henry McKenna and Captain Morgan.

As Thor led me down the path, I could hardly speak. I know. Me, not speaking. What a concept. He pointed at a duck and said it was beautiful. I just replied something stupid. I think I said, "Ducky says quack" or something like that. Thor wiped some sweat off my forehead and joked about how good it felt to have my sweat on him. I wanted to say, "You can have my sweat all over your gorgeous body if you want to," but instead I think I replied, "Sun hot. Make people sweat."

"What is happening to me," I asked myself. "Answer me you ridiculous moron," I said to myself. Myself just giggled and refused to clarify. Thor told me stories, and I replied with one syllable words like "oh" or "oh" or, sometimes, "oh", since all the blood had rushed away from my brain and into other areas of my body. After he told me lots of stories and I said "oh" a lot, we returned to our picnic. I sat down at the table as he fired up the grill. I took a couple slugs of moonshine, which, thankfully, hadn't been swiped. "What is it, Todd," he kept asking me. But I just shook my head and pointed at birds. "Birdy go tweet," I told him.

It wasn't until Thor reached across the table and held out a piece of grilled mango, that my lips became loose. That came out sort of wrong, and yet completely right.

I took the mango into my mouth and licked the juice from his fingers. He asked me to do it again without taking my eyes away from his. So I continued eating from his hand, which was convenient since I could barely move my arms at that point anyway. Then, after a couple more mango slices, I admitted to him, "Oh my god, I like you so much."

Yeah, I said that. Out loud. The feelings I've been trying so hard to control just gushed out. I talked and talked and talked. I drank and talked and couldn't stop doing either one. I felt a tremendous release of pent-up words, and I didn't hold back. Then, I finished talking and sat there staring into his deep blue eyes. Now that I had admitted my affection, what would he do?

His reaction was not what I expected. He flipped over the picnic table and began throwing hot charcoal at me. He called me a drunk and forced me to clean the entire picnic table with Ajax as he screamed that he was mad at the dirt, not at me.

No, actually he didn't do that. Instead, I received a few more mango slices, some grilled vegetables, and a rum-flavored first kiss as a reward for admitting my feelings. Later, we climbed into his truck, I put my hand on top of his, and we shifted gears together all the way back to town. I still couldn't say much in the truck. I was too happy to talk. The weather was beautiful, I felt full and peaceful. It took us quite a while to get back to Portland, and, even though I'm back at work on a Tuesday morning, I have a feeling that the ride isn't over yet.

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