On the Golden Gate Bridge pedestrian path, the breeze is so strong we tilt sideways as we walk. You’re wearing your green jacket – the one with the busted zipper and the tear in the left cuff. I fidget with the gloves you got me for my last birthday because you remembered my circulation gets bad in the cold. I watch you watching the water below us; the wind rushes loud, making conversation impossible.
If you could hear me, I would say, “Lovely weather we’re having.”
Or I would say, “Do you want to get lunch after this?”
Or, “Will you hang onto my arm so you don’t blow away?”
Or, “Did you want to come here so we wouldn’t have to talk?”
And, “Sorry if I’m ruining it.”
As you lean against me, I could say, “But seriously, hold onto my arm.”
I wouldn’t say, “Not because I think you need to. I just want you to touch me. I want you to anchor yourself to me as the wind tries to bend us in half, so the other pedestrians won’t cut between us. I want them to see you hanging onto me and understand what we are to each other.”
And never, “Is that crazy?”
I wish I would say, “Your cheeks are so pink right now. Let me hold your face in my gloved hands and warm you up.” And if you let me, “I don’t want you to be cold either.”
But I wouldn’t say that. Maybe I’d find a way to say something close to it, though.
If you could hear me when you reach up, smiling, to fix my windswept hair, I might say, “It’s a lost cause, man, but thanks anyway.”
I might ask, “Are you looking for excuses to touch me, too?”
We’re almost to the other side of the bridge. Someone’s taking out their phone to snap a photo of the view; it almost blows out of their hands. That would make you laugh if you noticed, but you’re not looking at them. I touch your shoulder. You’re already looking at me.
I try to tell you, and my voice is lost in the roar of the wind.
Audrey Hawkes is a desert rat living and writing in Arizona, and can often be found watching bad horror movies or on Twitter @Audrey_Hawkes.