Love. Huh. Whenever I think back to the time when we first met, a few memories come to mind, like when he threw me to the floor of the raft and grabbed the oars from me when I was on a sure path to highsiding on a dead tree in the river, or when I heard someone firing on the nearby range and froze, eyes vacant, after my initial involuntary jerking reaction to the sound. I remember how he brought me back with a cool nod, some eye contact and a soft reminder, “I know, just keep rowing.” I remember the intensity in his eyes when he held my gaze, like we were the only people in that raft. I think about how when he was around I was hyper aware of his presence, and in turn hyper aware of my own. But mostly , I remember the first time I heard him share a story in his typical over animated way, hands waving, voice slightly too loud for the space trying to contain it, eyes wide and sparkling with the excitement of the moment, “And KABOOOM!” he said…His favorite onomatopoeia. I remember his crazy curls, his quick smile, his dark air of mystery, and our immediate connection.
I think back to these moments, and I smile. I smile because we are so far removed from that place, that nervous awareness, uncertainty and questions that the beginning is reminiscent of an old foreign film; entertaining, but far removed from current reality. When I told him I was leaving Alaska this year, he asked reluctantly, “Until when?” When I told him I planned to return in 2013, he simply said, “So I’ll wait until 2013.” Dedicated to the wait, we made it a whole 26 tortorous days of separation, before beginning our life together. Two people, two dogs, two seats, one vehicle.
When people hear of our journey their initial reaction is generally shock, followed by disbelief, with admiration close in tow.
Something we hear regularly is, “Wait, you two live in what? With HOW MANY dogs?” Clicking their teeth and smirking, “Hmmmph. That’s surely a way to test a relationship, huh.”
“That’s what I hear,” I quip, sharing a knowing glance with John froth with laughter. A joke played on a world of expectations? Maybe.