For the record, I think no one would be the wiser if I skipped out on writing about the rest of our stay in Denver, but it seems too weird to simply leap from a sick Megs and a flustered me right into waxing over the waning moon about my Utah date.
What happened post-Bryan in Denver is this: I went back to Aunt T and MA’s and found Megan sitting up and having a conversation. Yay! This was quickly replaced by her lying down after her stomach acted like it had been shaken and stirred at the same time, but hey…progress! I perched on a comfortable chair in a living room fit for a well appointed cabin with a dog at my feet and a glass of wine in my hand. While Aunt T prepared a feast of a dinner, Aunt MA and I found out we had quite a bit in common, not the least of which was growing up with two professors as parents. Of course, talk at dinner turned to dating and the project, and the three of us got into a sociological conversation about what it means to date, why we do it, and what the implications are.
Before morning, there were more decisions to be made. Did Megs and I need to keep moving? Was that even possible? And what would we want to do about altering the travel route if we intended to stay on schedule? We’d planned for three days in Utah, our next state, at my request. And two of those days were to be spent at National Parks (Arches and Zion). Which meant we had some wiggle room, particularly if a) we skipped Salt Lake City, which was a bit of a drive north, and b) I was able to find a date in the smaller towns bordering the parks. To the computer and OkCupid I went.
Come sunrise, it was apparent that another day of rest, tea, and family was what the doctor ordered. I shot out the door for a spectacular morning run through the neighborhood, bringing my phone in case I got lost, and within five minutes found myself face-to-face with a family of deer just lounging around a front yard. There were bucks and does, all sitting still without a care in the world, barely eyeing me as I came toward them. In fact, I had to stop running and stare at them, waiting for a twitch of a nose or a tiny noise to see that these were in fact real lives animals, not lawn ornaments. Strange. Deer in California would have scampered off.
Back at Aunt T and MA’s, I curled up with coffee and my computer for some quality writing time, when Megan said she thought perhaps a short trip into town might feel nice. Surprised, we all agreed and piled into the car, taking a long, rambling back road to a tiny mining town where gingerbread houses and the biggest Christmas tree ornament store lay waiting for our exploratory nature. Soon, Megs was ready to call it a day, and frankly, I was too. Sleep and not sharing air space were possibly my only defense against the stomach flu – oh, and backing off on my unruly habit of licking Megan’s palms at inopportune moments (kidding!!).
The next morning after a quick run, I loaded the car, graciously accepted Aunt T’s packed lunch, and tried to make Megs as comfortable as could be. There was a long road ahead of us, and a stop at Arches National Park before a date in the tiny town of Moab.
Truth be told, I was exhausted and a little burnt out. The emotionally unexpected bout of homesickness packaged with constant worry about the state of Megan (who, much as I love her, is even more stubborn than I am about admitting when she doesn’t feel great which doubled my worry because I was rarely able to feel like I had the true answer from her) and feeling a bit bummed about knowing I had to cut my time in the southwest short – it all sort of piled up on me and made me really want to lie down for about three weeks. But that’s not how 50/50 rolls, or works. You keep going whether it seems like a good idea or not.
After ooh-ing and aah-ing over a twisty and stunning road full of layered rock, a variety of color, and scenery I’d never once imagined possible, we landed in Arches for ninety minutes of exploration. I watched Megs carefully, wondering if at any second we were going to be down for the count, this time without the comfort of family. She seemed under-peppy, but okay. After we checked into a B&B (a really kind gift from my parents), I showered, changed and put on make-up, thinking about just how much I wanted to simply relax and not have to perk up for a stranger.
I admitted this to Megan as we drove to the Moab Brewery, and she said, “Just do it. That’s why we’re here, and you’ll never get a second chance.” It never fails. Every time I’m just so done with dating for this trip and desperately dream of a hot tub in our cozy, adorable, fresh-baked cookie laden bed and breakfast, I wind up on a date that I’d never have want to have missed with someone who assuredly I’ll say “keep in touch!” to with gusto and mean it. Is there some Murphy’s Law regarding this? Any date that should go wrong does go right perhaps?