30 October 2009

Love at First Bike

4 April 2004

I'm in D.C, and my luggage is in Fort Lauderdale. My friend wears size 18, and I wear a size 8. I don't know what I'm going to wear tomorrow, but in a way, it doesn't matter.

I received an email from The Lizard today, and I don't think my feet have touched the ground since. I may not need a plane to get home! I think I could float!

After a crush that has lasted at least ten months, The Lizard finally asked if we could go on a bike ride together. Today is 04.04.04. Is this my lucky day or what?!?

I told him I'll be in Moab next month, and he replied that he would love to ride with me. Yes, he used the word "love." I'm not making this up!

8 April 2004

I wish so bad I had the courage to ask The Lizard if we could ride this weekend. But it's last minute, the roads probably would be bad on the way there, and I shouldn't spend the money.

I want to ride with him. And yet I don't.

I have been thinking about the Moab trip. I don't want another big letdown. I want a relationship that goes right. I'm not sure there are any of those in store for me. I feel like everything is destined to go wrong. I think I'm meant to be alone.

9 April 2004

I think I'm beginning to understand the reason I'm Dateless in Denver. I'm not date material. I suck at this, and I have no desire to excel at this particular task. I hate this!

11 April 2004

I couldn't wait to e-mail The Lizard tonight about the Moab trip. I secured the time off. I made my hotel reservation. This is the moment I have waited for. And now I'm scared.

13 April 2004

I finally received my long-waited e-mail from The Lizard. He requested we not do Slickrock. I replied, hopefully in a humorous manner. Communication is difficult. When I first read his response, I didn't catch any feeling in it at all. I thought I would just leave it at that until we had to make a plan. My defensive nature. Back off.

I reread the email later, and instead of seeing a cold, blunt reply, I saw excitement. He used exclamation points. He works full time and goes to school, and he's getting ready for finals. Plus, he's a guy. Guys don't get bubbly like girls do.

I answered back with bubbles but tight and terse, the way my newspaper editors have always encouraged me to write.

The Lizard replied with a bit of gusto. Actually stated a ride preference. He still seems very professional and distant, but there is a surety that squeaks in now that has always been absent before.

It has been a totally rotten day. It was so good to see his name come up in my inbox. I wished we were close friends so I could call him and whine about my day.

I guess that makes me guilty of baggage. I wanted someone to talk to tonight. I wanted more than a hit and run from The Lizard. But we don't know each other well enough for that yet.

I looked up our initial correspondence because I couldn't remember how we began tooting each other's inbox tunes.

I had forgotten he was one of the biggest fans of my Longs Peak poem. That poem was written with a different guy in mind. The Lizard sent this magnificent compliment that still utterly makes my day every time I read it.

He's written so many things to me that jarred my senses. I've felt a connection ever since the first time we talked. I've wanted to date him ever since I climbed Uncompahgre. After I wrote that trip report, he wrote to tell me there is much magic to be found near Cinnamon Pass. I envisioned us eating cinnamon rolls atop the pass together one day…

15 April 2004

I don't have a shot in the dark. The Lizard is going to be thoroughly disgusted that I'm such a slowpoke. That's not my typical pessimism speaking. That's fact.

18 April 2004

I cyclo-crossed the dirt road leading to the Lair of the Bear, and once again, I thought of The Lizard. His web page is Lizard's Lair. Not the same thing, I know, but that's where the simple thought of the word took me.

I sat down on a bench where I could swing my legs over the rushing river and ate my spicy tuna while I daydreamed about doing the same thing with The Lizard in just two weeks. Will he be disgusted with me because I'm so slow? Will he think I'm gross for eating tuna out of a foil packet with my fingers? Will he think I'm a wimp because I can't do Hurrah Pass or Amasa Back? Will he talk to me while we eat lunch on a bench, or will he try to get as far away from me as he can?

What do I care? Who needs a relationship?

But I did fantasize about sitting next to him on the bench, enjoying a conversation about the scenery.

26 April 2004

I am trying very, very hard to strengthen my legs and build my self-confidence so I can do single track with The Lizard on Saturday. I am trying so hard to be "good enough," based on my riding experience with other guys. I'm not satisfied with my level, but I should be doing it for me, not so I can keep up with some guy. I need to do it for me.

29 April 2004

The Lizard really is going to meet me in Moab on Saturday for a bike ride! Plans were finalized today! Little bit nervous, little bit excited. Trying very hard not to think about it. Trying to concentrate on all the stuff I must do before I head out. I still haven't replaced the tubes on the road bike! Undoubtedly I'll be up until 2 a.m. getting ready.

Lizard, I've had butterflies in my stomach all week. I've had fantasies about you since September. If you don't like me, the dream lives on because what I think of you is just in my head, not the real thing. It doesn't mean the real thing doesn't exist somewhere.
But I do hope...

We have so much in common. And yet, that scares the heck out of me, because every guy I have so much in common with flakes.

Lizard, please don't flake.

30 April 2004

I'm in Moab. Finally. At long last. All my questions and more will be answered tomorrow. Tomorrow, I may be a whole different person than I am right here, right now, at this very moment. I may have to be really strong, which could go either way, or I may have to find motivation to keep being bubbly and energized. I'm in Moab. How hard can it be?

1 May 2004

I can't believe this day. We rode into Arches National Park together. I couldn't keep up with him. He kept riding ahead and then riding back to be by my side. When we reached the Delicate Arch trailhead, he took off his shoes and carried his bike – BAREFOOT!!! – to walk with me! (I wear mountain biking shoes I can walk in when I'm not riding, even when I'm on my road bike.) We ate lunch together on a bench in full view of the prettiest arch in the world!

We had dinner together after the ride. Because he stayed and talked until both of us were hungry again. He asked if he could make dinner for me Monday night before I head home. That would put me home at midnight or worse.

I like The Lizard. I think he likes me, too. I'm so wired, I'm not even tired. And yet, I'm scared to death. This day has been unbelievable. I can't believe this is happening to me. It's like a fairy tale. This definitely doesn't feel like my life.

He wants to see me again!

2 May 2004

We talked on the phone! Long distance!!!

The Lizard asked what my plans are for today. I told him I am going to church before I hike in Canyonlands. He asked if I always do this, if I always go to church whenever I travel. I told him I do. He asked if I pick a church out of the phone book. I told him I have a church, but I occasionally have to look it up in the phone book to find it.

He said he thinks it's extremely neat that I go to church wherever I am. Then he said it's neat that I go to church.

It's SO tempting to think this is my "sign." That this is meant to be. I wish I could know what God wants. But I will be patient and wait for His answer. I don't want to do anything to mess this up.

3 May 2004

Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Lizard is an AWESOME cook. He made homemade chicken enchiladas, and he was the perfect host.

But, it was bound to happen. I've had nightmares about this for a month now. Not half an hour into dinner, he popped THE question.

My heart sank because everything was going so well. We were getting along so well. And then it finally had to come out. I couldn't hide the truth anymore.

"So, you have any children?" he asked.

I could lie. I could lie in a way that it wasn't a lie. I could say I've never given birth. That's the absolute truth. I could leave it at that and maybe the topic would never come up again.

But I don't want to live out this dream dishonestly. If nothing else, I want to be able to say I was an honest person and that I never tried to hide from my past.

"I have two children," I softly said. "I adopted both of them at an older age. Both are special needs. Both of them ran away before they turned 18. They came from horrific backgrounds, and I learned the hard way there are some things a parent just can't fix. Both of them are grown now, but they still have challenges, and sometimes they still make life difficult."

He handled it very well, considering. It was a lot to unload on him. But I didn't want either of us to get hurt worse by hiding the ugly truth and then dumping it on him after we're both so attached, we can't let go.

He asked polite questions. He continued conversation and didn't make me feel like a leper. He was the perfect gentleman. He was every girl's dream.

And now I'll never see him again.

4 May 2004, 1:23 a.m.

I just received the most beautiful e-mail I've ever received in my life. The Lizard said I'm the strongest person he has ever met. He wants to see me again! He wants to see me again this weekend!!!

I feel like this is it.

Everything I've ever been through has brought me to this point, and it was all worth it, for what I feel right now.

Author's Note: Six days later, he told me he was falling in love. We dated long distance for 14 months. He called me every evening, and we talked non-stop each time. He met both my kids, one at a time, and years later confessed the younger one scared the daylights out of him and made him question if he knew what he was getting himself into. But he took a leap of faith and married me anyway on July 15, 2005, and I still to this day feel as if I'm living a fairy tale. I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. This was worth every frog, every wart, every heartbreak and every bout of depression and doubt I've ever experienced. The Lizard is proof God loves me!


  1. What a beautiful story. I think everybody deserves to be happy but not all of us make it. Good for you.

  2. This was listed as "one of the posts you might like" under your recent Christmas post. I love this post - I absolutely love it because you seem to bubble with joy. Here's to the Lizard and you!

  3. WOW! prayers for continued blessings upon both of you! <3


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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