Ah yes – of course it’s too long… we’ll be breaking this into 2 parts.
So, Snapfish is having one of their obnoxious sales – 200 photos for $2. I haven’t culled my Denver pics enough to have them printed yet. As I’m scrambling to delete photos from my trip, I think it’s a good time to revisit my story. I will not make the 200 cut-off, by the way – I have WAYYY too many (as usual).
I come onto hotmail to my drafts folder. And…there’s only part one. OF COURSE.. I thought I’d already started writing out the actual trip, and with months gone by, I’m sure there will be a lot missing. But, my indulging reader, that may be to your benefit. I have only a smidge of a handwritten beginning…to the middle.
So, we come to Part 2 of My Denver Trip: Off and Away!
A quick recap of Part 1:
Over the course of a couple of months, I’d reconnected with Tim, a cool “potential” online. In that time, we’d reestablished our mutual interest & thrown my turtle timeline out the window. I was planning on flying out to meet him as part of a much-needed vacation.
I KNOW!!!! SO out of character!
But, balance intervened. This craziness was definitely offset by typical a “Laura Pepper Chaos Chain” (seriously I’m thinking of submitting it as a phenomenon of physics).
The preparation phase was plagued with my typical combinations: not enough info, delayed bookings and event planning… oh – and the small matter of Tim’s time off-grid, where I couldn’t get a hold of him at all. And, that miniscule detail that he was hospitalized at that time for a serious illness.
That’s starting to sound more like it, right?
So, revalidating my confidence that I can’t rely on anyone and that my life really is a comedy of errors, I put together my trip virtually by myself.
The eve of my trip I’m packed & ready to go, relieved that everything is at last all set.
I get a text – Tim’s going back into the hospital AND they don’t know what’s wrong with him.
As Sam Beckett would say:
Flash in on Providence’s Green Airport (which is actually in Warwick, RI). Note: There is no bluish glow around me – so I know I’m still just me.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
It’s a breeze going through check-in and security (1 of the reasons I choose early morning flights) – plus Southwest’s pre-printing boarding passes is a cool feature. Of course, you’ve got to be ready, exactly 24 hours before your flight to click through to get the earliest boarding groups. And, you still have to join the cattle queue, but at least you get it over with quickly!
So, a bit of a breather before the flight. Make sure to pee, and I’ve got my documents ready…
And…it’s time to board! And that’s only a puddle jump flight to a hub – before Denver!!! A short layover, then boarding flight #2!!!
I choose my usual – a window seat by the wing. I love the view and techno-robo 80s sounds as the flaps extend. Yes, I am special!
…And, what’s behind me? A family with a little boy… CRAP!! I can just picture the tike kicking my seat all the way to Denver! But, I know it’s going to be a long week, with a time difference (which I didn’t do so well with in Vegas), so I decide to rest up on flight #2. Finding my usual ways to contort myself, I manage to curl up – without getting into the middle-seat guy’s space. I close my eyes and keep forcing myself back to a doze throughout the flight.
At last, we hear the final descent page.
YIPPEE!!!!! Almost there!
I detangle, stretch out a few cricks, and stow my bag. I make sure to place my tray table and seat in their full and upright positions. Yes, I am a model flier!
At this moment, I begin to face the fact that I AM ON VACATION!!!!
As we get up to leave, I turn around to the tyke-toting family behind me. I just have to say that their son was probably the best-behaved child I’ve ever sat in front of. I’m usually so nervous when I’m near a kid – but he hardly kicked my seat and was really pretty quiet. I got to sleep a lot on the flight! The kid doesn’t leave me hanging with my hi-5 offer, and I start to deplane. Things seem to be looking up, I’m free, rested, and ready for some good times with my (hopefully ok) Colorado friend!!!
But first: I gotta pee! That’s the only down side of a window seat – the total awkwardness of getting to the lav… especially when one or more of your neighbors is sleeping. So, you hold it and pray for a smooth ride.
Winding my way around, I find the baggage claim. Denver has a really beautiful airport, and I take some pics of greenery. However, I am careful not to take too many pics. I’d rather not be delayed for ‘questioning’ by overzealous authorities.
Bladder empty and bags in hand, it’s the time to call Tim & let him know I arrived safely. I also keep my eye out in case he forgot I said I was going to rent a car & sent someone to pick me up. No signs for L Pepper, no one giving me ‘the eye’… So, I dial.
…and get an invalid number automated message.
I try a second time – with the same result. I’m going through my contact list & not typing the number by hand… so, it IS his number.
I try the 2nd number he left me (which I call the Batphone & have it so programmed in my phone). At least I can leave a message on this one, which I do. I also text both numbers, in case he gets to one first.
But, I don’t get it.
I’m alone, 1700 miles away from home, and the one person the trip is revolving around can not be reached.
That nagging pessimistic side of me (I’ll call her ‘mom voice’) is wondering if I’ve been played. If this is someone’s jolly. Pretend to make a connection with someone across the country, have them fly out with the understanding that you’re going to meet, you like each other, and at the very least are friends…with the potential for more. Then, DROP EM like a hot potato!!!
At the moment ‘happily ever after’ seems more a cruel joke than fun fantasy.
Well, I can’t sit in the airport all day.
I take the tram to Enterprise, where my car awaits. It’s a relatively easy exchange, and soon I’m driving my rental out of the massive airport complex.
Before I left, I wrote directions to all the major places I was going to visit – and my hotel was first on the list. Despite earlier protests as to the shadiness of my choice, it was cheap, and pretty close to the botanical garden and zoo. So, hookers & crack dealers be damned, I’m headed to East Colfax Ave!!
Fun fact: Colfax is the longest continuous street in the United States.
See, who says you can’t learn something useful from my ramblings?
So, on this long and winding road, I take in the scenery. Sure, there are a lot of run-down areas, and various types of people milling about. However, what I find most surprising and/or disturbing – is the number of Family Dollar stores on this one street. Seriously, I’m not sure if we have that many locations in Rhode Island. Must be a lot of families…. with stacks of ones.
I find my hotel relatively easily – it’s a Ramada, and, for being near the ghetto, it’s actually pretty nice. I unpack the car, check in & dump myself and stuff into my room. Now what the hell am I going to do?
I try Tim’s phones again. Same error message on the main one, no answer on the Batphone. He could still be in the hospital – and that’s my GOOD possibility. I try calling the one he was admitted to a few weeks before. They do not have anyone with that name admitted. SHIT! I try emailing him – asking that he just get in touch with me, since I don’t know what’s going on. And, I’m back to being at a loss.
I also haven’t eaten all day (not that I’m particularly hungry with this all going on). But, there’s an Irish pub across the street. I bring my little notebook and my stressed self to Irish Snug restaurant and bar. I order some pretty damned good pub food, and more drinks than I can finish. Depressed, confused, and (possibly) a rejected joke, I text my sister-in-law… and write.
(Please join me in a 10-minute frenzy, as we search 2 rooms, and my car for my notebook… And, it was exactly in a place that I would NOT have normally put it. Bravo, Laura. Bravo!)
[My angsty, alcohol-fueled prose follows…and, you know, it may look no different from my usual writings!] I apologize for the doubling of experience, but I don’t feel like editing…
Tuesday, 3-29, 4:30 Denver Time
So, I’m sitting in an Irish pub across from my hotel. It’s Happy Hour & I could sure use it. At the moment, I’m confused, upset, tired and ready to be either borderline humiliated or embarrassed…and YES, there is a distinction.
Ya see, I haven’t heard from Tim since last night – he texted he was going to the hospital. His case of “CRS” seems to have been a real symptom – he ended up pissing blood again (after having similar disorientation and effects a few weeks ago).
I had gone downstairs to update mom (an hour or so after the text, I got a pic sent from the hospital). By the time I got back up, he’d left a message. He sounded genuinely upset & frstrated about the fact he couldn’t remember even his Dr.’s appointment & I thought I detected an edge of scared in his voice as well.
Well, who wouldn’t be – seriously?
So, he assured me I’d hear back after he talked to the Dr. & said either he or a friend’d meet me at the airport. I replied that I was renting a car – do what he needed to.
Fast forward – I texted him from the MD airport just before I left. No reply… Which was fine since it was only 8:30 am here. Got to Denver & texted/emailed.
No reply. Ok – still…he’s in the hospital. It wasn’t until I tried calling that the Dodgy Dong of Doom started going off.
I dialed right from his “Contacts” name on my phone – the SAME one I’d been texting all along.
The SAME one I left a message on last night.
BUT, this time, I got a dialed error message. Ok…maybe there was a fluke in my phone and it somehow reprogrammed his number.
Keep in mind – I believe in infinite possibilities in this world and it’s not TOTALLY outside that realm.
I even try the “Batphone” – where I’m at least able to leave a message.
But, no reply.
So, I try dialing it without the area code. Still a no-go.
By now, I’m really getting concerned. How long DOES it take to eradicate all traces of a person’s existence? And, if that’s the case – was it ET or Big Brother? Did he see something he wasn’t supposed to? A witness to nefarious naughtiness on the part of a PTB?!?
FER CHRISSAKES, I flew across the COUNTRY to meet this guy on my vaca! If he’s been “nullified”, then that’s a fine how-do-you-do!
So, keeping an eye out at the airport in case he forgot I’d arranged transport (remember: He’s having a major case of CRS), I get my luggage. I send an email detailing I can’t call him, and I’m now going to find my rental.
At least THAT step was relatively easy.
Of course, it’s a different story as I try to navigate to my hotel. YES, I did pack mom’s GPS, but I had my handwritten directions & some guidance from the lot attendent.
But, the “Laura Pepper Misdirection Gene” activates as usual. Go-go Gadget WRONG WAY!
So, after a needless loop around the airport terminal, I make it to Pena, then 1-70. But, I don’t take the unmarked Colfax St. Exit – although earlier signs said I was approaching.
So, basically, after a few turnarounds, and a VERY long foray down Colfax (a dingy-looking street of strip malls, small shops & drive-thrus… I FINALLY make it to my hotel – about 2 hours after my plane landed.)
I check in and unload, pee & email mom – whose reply admits she’s been getting worried. Bonus. sigh.
I try to call Tim again.
So, as I log into my email, account, I’m also on Facebook.
I see a message – but not from him.
I try typing his name in the search box, but it doesn’t come up.
Ok… I go back to my message screen – his profile pic is still up (a good sign, I think).
A couple of weeks ago, the pic was gone, but the messages were still there. He said he was fixing a ‘non-friend issue’. Ok, that’s viable. I’ve never had stalkers, and as much as I joke about wanting one, I also understand that it’s really not a good situation.
But, I digress.
So, anyway. I try clicking his pic. Waiting….waiting. I try the ‘open in a new tab’ trick. I get a message “page not found”.
I try calling the hospital he was going to yesterday – he’s not in the system. Part of me is not surprised.
Ok – now Paranoid Android’s running overtime. RED ALERT!!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!! BWOOP, BWOOP!!!!!
I’m kinda tired. Kinda stressed. Kinda over travel for the day.
As a last resort, I “reply all” to the hospital pic that was texted to my phone & ask if anyone has heard from him. The only response I get is “I don’t know you. Please don’t text me.”
Hmmm…maybe I should’ve included my name & the fact that Tim was expecting me. STUPID!!! STUPID!!!
Oh well, hopefully I remember that for the next time I’m desperately trying to get in touch with someone who seems to have had at least 2 avenues of communication obliterated.
Ah yes, mental note.
My very last attempt – an email to his two addresses. Basically an “I’m confused. What’s going on? If this is a game/joke, please tell me now. If you sincerely wanted to meet, please message me back. I have no way to contact you” email.
Pathetic, yet hopeful. It’s my M.O.
Unfortunately, I’m the type who often runs into situations that seem horrible/ascinine at the time – then after I’ve gone through all the negative emotions, rants and vents, insecurity, etc.. I find out there was an actual legitimate reason for the turn of events I’d stressed & lamented over obsessviely.
I can only hope that’s the case this time as well.
I’m VERY picky about who I deign to meet – much less flying over 1700 miles to hang with.
This could set me back – even FURTHER than my antisocial hermit default mode…
Wow, time flies. An hour and a half later. Dinner & 2 glasses of wine gone. I’m working on a whiskey & “Irish Appletini.”
Oh – and it’s the START OF MY VACATION!!!
Lucky for me, I’ll only have to stummble across the street (Did I mention I’m in a semi-dodgy hood?)… If I leave within the next hour, it should still be light out! I dounno about Denver, but I hear in general the freaks come out at night.
Sheets to the wind + freak-fest = a high probability of disaster and a 48% chance of a police report… Though.. never been on the assailant side of that docket (I have been a ‘victim’ of a lost wallet and a stolen car radio, however).
Dear Bob, can I JUST ONCE have a stress-free vaca full of friends, fun & sun – INSTEAD of stress, draining days, tipsy typing & writing? PLEASE?
What in the hell are these karma points being redeemed for anyway? NOT getting rear-ended by road ragers? Finding that penny in the parking lot? F’ing waste of my good thoughts and deeds if you ask me!
I’d planned on stuff I’d bring to the hospital, too. Dammit!!
As much as I hate being stuck in mother/wounded bird mode, part of me needs that. Of course, though the stubborn, fiercely indpendent part of me won’t admit it – part of me needs to be taken care of in that way as well.
But, how can I get to that vuvlnerability if I can’t FUCKING TRUST anyone – even in the general sense?
So, here we are, alone in a pub, writing in the semi-dark. Trying to be informative and endearing – so this very personal and self-reflective piece doesn’t seem as self-pitying and depressing as the situation has the potential to be for me…if I chose to connect to it, of course. Oh, thank Bob for the emotional disconnect switch.
Well, tomorrow I’m off to the zoo & maybe the Natural History Museum. I WILL have fun. I will NOT spend all my dough on booze! I MAY indulge in a spa day!
I’ll probably keep hoping for this meetup.
WHAT?! Of course, that’s going to linger, lurking in the recesses of my cranium. So SUE ME!
Just one drink to go, kids. Then, I’ll go back to the hotel, check my email, and sadly see if there are some NCIS reruns playing.
AW YEAH!! I’m living it up in MILE HIGH!!! SOMEBODY STOP ME!!! No really – I mean it. I’ve got one martini to go before my uvula implodes. And my tummy’s turning topsy turvy.
DAMN MY COMPULSIVE ORDERING!!!
Yeah, don’t think I can go any further. 2 glasses of wine, a whisky, dinner & a couple of sips of the specialtini… Vomiting’s really not on my “To Do” list.
Distracted Note to Self: Find the Shake weight commercial online & post for its autoerotic overtones. It’s like a penis doing all the work!
You win this time martini. But, at least I got a few good sips in! Yes, I had it taken away by waiter Scott. One of my fave names and cute to boot! Maybe my day is ending better than it began/progressed.
NCIS, here I come!
SIDE NOTE: East coast, West coast, Mid-west – we ALL look the same, dress in the same varieties. It’s only our accents and colloquisims that change. Oh, and our general attitude, I suppose. Though, really it does average out, doesn’t it? It’s not lke all New Englanders are pricks [I’d like to think I’m not. And, not all Californians act like hippy Dead-heads or super-entitled Divas (Divos?) What IS the male equivalent?!?]
Damn, that may just haunt me.
Haha – at least my bill (with tip) came up to the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Perhaps things ARE looking up!!!
[End of bar writing…can we see where I started to go downhill?] Haha.. no? That IS a problem!!!
Still no word, but I’m going to do the zoo!!! Hey, it’s in the city, and I leave plenty of texts and open invites to contact and/or join me. At this point, I figure maybe he’s still in the hospital, maybe just resting. And, when he can, he’ll contact me. Besides, you don’t always have your cell with you, right?
Wow, this zoo is AMAZING!!! I end up meeting a fellow photographer in their ginormous bird building. She gives me some pointers & cool places to shoot (I LOVE that my camera is often enough for strangers to strike up conversations with me. Bob knows I don’t have the balls to do it myself). Oddly, the pics she takes of me are blurry, which is too bad, because they are with the bird who claims my backpack as its own…and tries to eat it. Hmm… Guess she relies a bit too much on auto-focus (which I usually have turned off). I tell her I think Roger Williams is about the same size… until I realize later it has taken me 8 hours to see MOST of Denver’s zoo. So much for my skewed sense of proportion! The habitats are more animal-friendly and they actually have an exhibit that rotates which animals are in it! And, it’s a very photo-friendly place with lots of high view-points where cages and reflective glass don’t interfere with your shots!!! I am really awed and amazed by this well-thought-out zoo. I don’t get a chance to see it all, but the 5000+ pics I take tell me I’ve seen a lot!
I’m so glad I went there – it really was one of the highlights of an otherwise not-so-ideal trip. Of course, I worried about my friend and wondered what he was up to… but, there was enough sensory distraction that at least I could enjoy where I was for moments.
Sometime during the day, I FINALLY hear from Tim. It’s worse than I thought – he’s had a spinal tap, tests out the wazoo, and they STILL don’t know what’s wrong with him! And, as far as his phone – the memory stuff he’d been dealing with INCLUDED him forgetting to pay his bill. Since I get the message from his original number, this all seems legit. Hell, I’m just relieved he’s alive. But, the bad news – they’re going to do a test for an anuyerism. SHIT! Of course, the Self-Hate Fairy comes flitting about. “You’ve been selfishly thinking of yourself, and your feelings, when this guy could be DYING! That’s right, go get another whiskey, you egocentric loser!”
To make matters better and worse, Tim is adamant he wants to meet me and just have some fun. The hospital/testing experiences have him freaked out, & he’s looking forward to the chance to chill and hang with yours truly! Of course, there are mixed feelings on my end. I don’t want him to die on me, or get seriously ill, but HELL YEAH!!!! I want to be wanted, desired, loved….hell, even ‘tolerated in person’ would be ok with me right now. But, again, I don’t want to be the ruin of another life!
So, we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Supposedly another test for him, but he’s also in a hospital in another town (one, by the way, that I wanted to visit)… so I’ll leave him be, and just be thankful he’s ok.
Slightly relieved, and tired after a long day trekking through the jungle and desert (habitats), tis time again to retire. G’night all.
Ok, I’ve heard from my guy. It’s again a waiting game, but at least his phone’s back on, although probably off since he has scary tests to look forward to today. Ok, it’s not ideal, but it’s at least a half-step up from where I was yesterday.
In the meantime, I decide to visit another place on my “Must-see” list – the Denver Botanical Gardens. Yay!!! Another photo orgy!
I love, love, LOVE taking nature photos – insects in & around flowers are among my most favorite. Upon entering this garden of awesomeness, I am immediately taken by the various landscapes that call out to me. After a quick stop at the water wall, I remove myself to the Sensory Garden. What wonders I behold!!! Objects that beg to be touched, seen, smelled!!! The juxtaposition of smooth ladybug on delightfully fuzzy “lamb’s ear” plants, the popping purples, spiny & spiky wonders. And, of course, the bed frame indicating a ‘flower bed’. I am delighted with the eyes of a child, discovering the new and ever-present beauty that nature possesses and bequeaths. And, I’m only in the FIRST SECTION!
Beauty and buzzing surround me. I’m transported from different vistas and their native flora within paces. There are lady bugs, caterpillars, bumblebees, and all sorts of other happy insects. Flowers, vines, thorns and gorgeous greenery abound. The textures and tones tangle to tantalizing temptation. And, yes, I attempt to photograph it all.
Within the wooden walls, I once again hear from my frail friend. We WILL be meeting sometime today. He is checking himself out of the hospital, doctors and tests be DAMNED! I am happy, concerned, relieved and terrified all at the same time.
I continue on my aesthetic odyssey, and look forward to finally meeting my Ohio to Denver transplant. Finally, I am breathing again. All is ok…. well – getting there.
After getting my fill of beauty and serenity, I leave the gardens, grab some lunch, and head back to my hotel. The rest of the day passes, and I eagerly await the next message from Tim. Awaiting… Awaiting… He finally sends a message late afternoon that he’ll be checking out soon, and will have someone drive him back to Denver (at this point, I didn’t realize he was at a hospital an hour away). Ok, I could use some rest time. Hooray for naps! A few hours later, I get the message he’s heading back, and needs to wash the hospital off him, etc. Ugh to more waiting… But, I guess it’s shower time for me!! I descrubify and get ready, makeup and all. And, now…back to waiting…
Seriously, does he spend more time primping than a woman? What the hell? Did he fall asleep? I text him again (by this time, night has fallen, and I’m gettijng antsy). Turns out, while he was in the shower, his friends took the car (with his wallet in it). WHO CARES! I HAVE A CAR AND CREDIT CARDS!!!! But, I wait. There’s an awesome Blink 182 song about the girl who kept him waiting…but at least they’re together!!!
In the meantime, I send a very disappointed-looking dressed-up pic to him. He sends something back, but my phone is too primitive to actually display it. I’m tired, cranky, and just want to meet this guy I took the chance of flying across country to meet. Is that too much to ask?!?
Close to midnight, I FINALLY get another text that he is on his way. Great. I’m way past the point of excited anticipation and nervousness. I’m ready to just sleep and see what tomorrow may bring.
But, the non-bitchy side of me realizes he fucking CHECKED HIMSELF OUT OF THE HOSPITAL, drove an hour back, and risked his life & safety just to meet me.
Yeah, ok…that should say something. FINE!!! I’ll wait some more.
FINALLY!!! I get a text he’s in the parking lot!!!!! I walk outside and lap around half the building before I see a lone figure striding toward me (we’re on the phone at the time). A smile, a hug, and (almost) all is good. He was dressed in a t-shirt, khakis, and thong sandals (which I thought was comfortably awesome…or is that ‘awesomely comfortable’?)! He actually had to change his pants because he dropped a bottle of wine on the ground before coming to meet me. Apparently there is more vino in the car, but I decline a ‘pregame’ invite.
What a wild and crazy ride!!!
I resist the urge to pounce on all the frustration, confusion and overall bad mojo I’ve been sinking in over the last few days/weeks.
Thanks – it took a lot of effort!
He drives, and after a quick trip to a gas station, we’re off!! He’s still relatively new to Denver, so a little unsure where to aim for. But, it’s ok, we’re together (finally), and I find a sense of calm…
Until he pulls into a one-way street…going the wrong way.
Oh, what a short-lived respite.
He rights himself, and continues on.
Ooh – a strip club! We pass to my ribbing remarks..
Oh, SHIT – we’re on the wrong side of the street AGAIN!!!
I force him to pull into a parking lot & turn inquisitor. Was it only a small couple of sips you had of vino before coming to pick me up? Are you really ok? You ARE scaring me.
He’s noticeably distressed. I back off, and try to reassure him.
Look, honestly, disasters are what I face every fucking time I try to make plans. It’s ok, really.
Hate to say it – but that’s the honest truth. Yet ANOTHER reason I rarely go out/make plans. (are we compiling a list yet?). They ALWAYS. I mean A.L.W.A.Y.S. go horribly awry. Amok even! We sit in the parking lot for a few minutes and take the opportunity to center and calm down. When he seems better, we pick a plan b. Ironically, the place across the street from my hotel is open till 2am. So…we drive back & park in my hotel parking lot.
Ah, sweet cyclical misadventure, I have missed you.
He admits to having hypoglycemia – just one of many possible reasons for his one-way street shenanigans. HOLY FUCK!!! I’m DIABETIC!! I’d totally understand that shit! Of course, I have a juicebox with me, which I make him drink.
“Are there any OTHER medical issues I should know about?!?!” He admits to high blood pressure.
Ok… transparency! JEEZ LOUISE – it’s the kind of shit I need to know! ESPECIALLY for someone who’s just been HOSPITALIZED!!! I make him promise to let me know anything else important! Literally, his life could be in my hands, and in this case ignorance is NOT bliss!
Mollified, I allow him to escort me to the Snug Irish Pub. It’s after midnight, not crowded, and we get a table right away.
Kids, it’s been a LONG night, and we’re not exactly off on the best foot. So, yeah, it starts a little awkwardly. We each get a drink, and try to salvage the date.
It takes me a bit to loosen up – hell, I’m fucking WORRIED about this guy, and TERRIFIED something is going to happen while we’re together. Is the beer a good idea? Will it interfere with his meds? (he’s been on opiates after his awful – but necessary – spinal tap). He assures me he didn’t take a pain med that afternoon & all is good.
After a while, he actually manages to get me to laugh. The worry subsides & we can interact sociably. I let him take my hand (old friends, you will know that’s kind of a big deal for me). We chat, sip our drinks, and overall enjoy each other’s company.
And, then it’s last call. Probably less than 2 hours of interaction after over a month’s anticipation. :o(
He walks me across the street to my hotel, but I’m not ready for the night/morning to be over. So, yeah – I invite him up.
He hadn’t seen any of my videos, so that’s a fun activity (sure, probably a little self-serving, but whatever, it’s all I got!).
Shoes off, laptop on, I settle in a bit.
ENGAGING FULL CUDDLE MODE!!! Lying together, my head and hand on his chest, eyes closed – I embrace it all.
AT LAST – the very moment I looked forward to. Quiet togetherness – background noise from the video aside. A deep breath, mayhap a sigh, and I feel comfortable and secure. All is well with the world. We watch a few of my characters, their silly presences just a light note to an otherwise ethereal calm.
And, then, a kiss. One simple lip lock, a wanting, a need, an unspoken consent to a magnificently mingling meld of body and mind.
We progress pretty rapidly to some heavy petting. DAMN, IT’S BEEN A WHILE!! Passion encourages tentative touch to torrid torrents.
And, then, I notice he’s having trouble breathing.
Turns out he has asthma – aggravated by the elevation’s thin air.
ASTHMA?!? Ok, so here’s another one for the list. Seriously, is he competing with me for Health Issue Supremacy???
Hell, I’m willing to call it a draw – JUST BE OKAY!!!
So, I decide to be silly & just obnoxiously lick the side of his face. How was I supposed to know that was a turn-on?
Breath steadies, we each take bathroom breaks, and (about 3 or 4am), it’s time for him to go home. He needed to return his friend’s car and not risk a ticket or tow. I understood, but still a little sad at the parting. He asked when I’d want to leave in the morning (ironically, I’d put off visiting the very area he’d just come from, but because of his back pain, I decided against hiking & compromised to a tour of “LoDo” – a cool, eclectic Denver neighborhood). Ideally, I’d want to leave as early as possible, but sure as hellfire wasn’t going to deprive him of rest! So, we settled on a 10am time for him to be ready & we’d explore his home city. A kiss goodnight, and he headed home – I went to sleep.
If only I had known it was the last time I’d see him in person..
(hey, at least you got the foreshadowing – I got diddley!!!)…
Ah, beautiful Denver, I have found your delicious delight. I awake to a fresh start, and am willing to put aside the strain of my introduction to this trip. I get ready and anxiously await 10:00.
Around 10:30 or so, I text Tim. It was a long night, and oversleeping was definitely a possibility. That’s ok – I was able to meet the man behind the messages. Everything is ok!
I decide to check out one of the nearby Whole Foods, and pick up some snacks and water (it is SERIOUSLY dehydrating up here!). I take some pics surreptitiously around the store, trying not to get kicked out as a shady character. Seriously ALL the stores I’ve been to are set up differently! Supplies gathered, I head back to the hotel, glad to be ahead of the game.
11:30 am – still no word.
Ok – well, I’m not going to waste the day in my hotel room. It’s bad enough I missed out on one cool day trip…and other opportunities we’d put on our ‘to-do-list.. So, I start walking – first to the capitol, then make my way toward the 16th Street mall.
I have my cell phone on me, and I’m still in the city, so we’re all good.
I have to try to remember to get back to the capitol before sunset – I’ve read there’s a beautiful mountain view!
I walk downtown, camera at the ready, and gear bag slung across my shoulders. I’m used to traveling by myself, so this is nothing new… of course, the fact that someone was supposed to be experiencing this with me… well, that stings a little.
But, I’m a trouper, and journey on.
I make it to 16th Street in good time, and take a couple of moments to take in the crowd, buildings and general vibe, as I continue down this pedestrian-friendly uber-mall. There are actually public transport units designed just to get you from one part of the street to another – that’s how freakin’ long the street is!
Damn, maybe I should’ve taken up that option. It’s kind of warm, the crowds are dense in parts, and, well, I’m getting anxious again.
Thank goodness for the silly art, serious fur-protesters [one carrying a sign that reads “Fur = Anal Electrocution” (for the animal or the buyer???)], planes trailing marijuana-endorsing signs, and people in random costumes. These distractions manage to take my mind off of worrying/wondering for brief blinks.
I continue down the street till I reach its end, and find a wharf. There are authority-types about, so I don’t attempt to go much further. I loop around, and find an alternate route back to the city proper.
On the way, I find this really cool area – a park, where this guy is kayaking against a man-made river. I think it’s affiliated with a sporting-goods store. But, either way, cool! I take a break here, and take some pics.
(and, of course, check my cell phone. Nothing).
There are some cool photo ops along the way as I make my way back toward my hotel. And, finally, when I’m within 10 minutes of that destination, I get a text. It is almost 2:30 in the afternoon.
“I just woke up. I was throwing up until 6am – going to the doctors.”
My heart jumped to my throat. Was this my fault? Should I have let him get the beer? Result of ‘activities’? Too excitable? IS HE GOING TO BE OKAY?!?
I ask when he’s going & where…wondering if I’d be able to join. He was leaving before I’d be back to my center of operations. He assured me he’d talk to me after he talked to the doctor.
Yep, we’ve heard this before.
So, anxiety, stress, and tears on standby, I trudge back to my hotel…to wait.
sigh, sigh, sigh
A few hours later I hear back – they are going to do that test he skipped out on. He has to turn off his cell phone, but assures me that our plan of eating Rocky Mountain Oysters will be a go when he gets out. I am also anxious, because I’m due to leave Denver the next day. It was actually supposed to be our getaway to Glenwood Springs. I bought tickets to a concert/festival that I was really looking forward to seeing. And, knowing my legacy, this snag does not bode well.
There is no more word that night.
Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone. I sure feel dressed for the part.