40 years ago, 1981.
I met and fell in lust/love with Steve between classes at the University of Victoria. I sat with a hastily grabbed hot dog at a table in the cafeteria, where a dish of french fries sat abandoned. Within moments Steve arrived to claim them – and my interest.
Dark moustache, and hair. Bright intelligent eyes. Confidence. Then we began a conversation. I ran for my next class without his name. The next time I saw him was at my own front door.
I opened the door at my home to a knock, only to find he was there to visit my roommates, Georgie and Jane. I was wearing a teal blue angora sweater and as I welcomed him in he reached out and ran his hand from my shoulder to my hand, “Hello my name is Steve, it’s nice to meet you”.
There were no calluses on his hand and as he held mine, I remember the smooth, careful, softness.
The loggers, fishermen and farmers of my childhood all had calloused hands.
I had a date with a pilot that day – a seaplane ride and dinner. After a fun day, the pilot dropped me at a nightclub, where my roommates were.
I spent the night dancing with Steve.
We wandered from there to the beach, collected drift wood and lit a fire to keep warm, while we talked and began a connection that has thrived for the last 40 years.
Steve and I have built many fires in those years. From Rocky Mountain cabins, to the Chilcotin Lakes with champagne. The Gulf Islands. Pender, Saltspring, Galiano, Jasper Park Lodge, and on the battle fields of the Riel Rebellion on the South Saskatchewan River. San Joseph Bay, by Allen Bill Pond while we skated.
In our own back yard in Calgary, and now, every year on the Okanagan at Newport Beach. There have been fires to melt snow for tea, boil water for soup, bake pizza and pancakes.
Fires to celebrate birthdays, graduations, deaths, births, and mostly just because, for each time a fire is lit there is warmth, connection, conversation and love.
I am grateful that Steve knocked and found me at home that day, for I was looking for a man who could share the building of the fires in my life.
He often says I build the fires too big & too hot – that you can’t get close to them, but he continues to sit with me waiting until the coals burn low and the stars become visible again in the night sky.
Much Love and Gratitude,