I go for the cute, flirty Class II and III rivers. My man can’t resist the femme fatale Class IV-V types.
He assured me that for experienced kayakers, paddling the Grand Canyon is big water, Class III. No worries.
At first I imagined a cheerleader, one of those sweet ones with a ponytail and pom-poms.
But it’s February and he went solo, in an extra-long, weighted down kayak.
This cheerleader wears bright red lipstick, a matching thong and a leather jacket with a flask of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes in the inside pocket.
The kind you would never trust alone with your boyfriend.
So when I wake up from a nap to the sound of chirping crickets, I fly out of bed looking for my phone.
Only one person has that ringtone.
When I answer it, the sound of my man’s voice after not hearing it for two weeks is pure bliss. He’s off the river and heading home.
The cell coverage isn’t great and doesn’t last long. His voice sounds as smooth as river rock and happier than I’ve heard it in months. The trip was mind blowing, he says. He had the canyon to himself much of the time.
“It was more of a Class IV-IV+ trip with that heavy, long boat,” he says. I make out that he can’t wait to see me and something about a big juicy burger before we lose our connection.
I go upstairs and light the candles on my meditation altar. I’ve been meditating a lot since he left, trying to disperse degenerate cheerleader thoughts with my May he be safe mantra. But I didn’t fool my body. I have a cold, two cold sores on my lower lip and a lovely display of acne across the right side of my face.
I wondered if maybe I was just out of practice and had forgotten how to be alone in love. I’ve felt so damn vulnerable and raw this time
He just confirmed why.
I inhale deeply and sink fully into the realization that he is safe and coming home. I send out waves of gratitude as I exhale. My shoulders melt down my back and I feel myself relax fully for the first time since he left.
It’s as if I’ve taken my finger out of the dike.
I fold forward and start sobbing.
Loving a whitewater kayaker is so Class V.