I’ve never really shared our story on here. Not completely, at least. On Valentines Day I was at a friends house for a little Valentines Day party with several other moms and all of our little ones. She is a regular Martha Stewar,t and had fresh bagels, flavored cream cheese, and crafts for mamas and kids alike. It was pretty amazing. Anyway, the mama craft was to shape a small piece of clay into a heart, and then use a stamp to create a unique saying onto the surface. We were making them to give to our significant other for a small, special gift. I immediately knew what I would put on mine (a few lyrics from our special song), and while I worked on my project, I hummed Howie Day’s Collide in my head. Whenever I hear that song, I am transported back to 2005: I spent my days making lattes in the Flathead Valley in Montana, came home smelling of freshly ground coffee, and hiked amidst beautiful, rocky, pine-tree-filled, mountains in my free time.
Early one morning, before most people are up and about, I was rapidly pulling shot after shot of rich, hot espresso behind our huge espresso machine. I looked up to see one of our regulars standing in line. I quickly made his usual drink, and waited for him to make his way to the front of the line. When I looked up to answer his hello, I noticed he had someone new standing next to him. I asked if he wanted anything else, and his friend ordered a chai tea. As I steamed the milk, regular guy introduced me to his new employee, the cute guy with striking blue eyes and a mop of curly hair standing at his side. I noticed he had on a windbreaker that not only brought out those blue eyes, but had a wrestling logo emblazoned on the front. I had had poor experiences in the past with wrestlers, so I was a little wary, but tried to be friendly anyway. They left, and I went on with my day. The next day, the new guy came back, but only said a quick hi, ordered a drink, and then sat down to read the paper. He would occasionally glance my direction, but didn’t attempt any additional conversation before heading across the street to his office.
Over the next few months, day after day was the same routine: he came in to the shop, said hi, asked how I was, and took his drink to the office. I quickly gave up any hope that he may be interested in chatting and didn’t try to engage him further.
One day, though, his boss came by alone. He pulled me aside and asked me if I could please give the poor new guy a break and ask him out. If I didn’t want to ask him out, he said, could I please just talk to him at the very least? I thought he was crazy, and told him so. Then he proceeded to explain that every single day, Carl came over, ordered a drink, took a few sips, and tossed it in the trash back at the office. He hated coffee, tea, and everything else that sold, but only came over to see me. He intended to ask me to do something every weekend, but never actually got up enough nerve to do so and left discouraged. I really didn’t believe him, to be honest, but laughed about it and said I’d think about seeing if he was interested in hiking or something that weekend.
That afternoon, Carl uncharacteristically came over for an afternoon latte (ha!) and after he had walked out the door, I ran after him. I asked if he wanted to go on one of my favorite hikes in Glacier Park that weekend. It was May, and while it would probably still be really cold, the lower part of the park was thawing and would be beautiful. He was new to the area, and I hoped he would want to see some of the beautiful local scenery. I also hoped he enjoyed hiking and the outdoors, because if he didn’t, I was sure there would never be a future together.
Interestingly enough, he said no. Yes, you read that right. He told me he had a rugby game in Helena and wouldn’t be home for the weekend, but maybe another time. I was stunned. I just stood there, watching him walk off, and fumed. I thought that maybe his boss had set me up, thinking it would be funny.I never, and I mean NEVER, asked guys out. So here I had, and he said NO! As I turned around to go back inside, feeling pretty humbled but equally pissed, I heard him call after me. I turned around and saw him running back across the street, wondering how much more he was going to anger me. He surprised me, though, and said that although he couldn’t go Saturday, he could go Sunday if I had time. I said yes, even though I was even more uncertain now.
Sunday dawned bright and early, and we met at the coffee shop for coffee before heading out. I drove, since I knew where we were going, and we started the drive up to the park. I was beautiful, and sunny, and he looked even cuter outside of stuffy work clothes.
We went on a short hike to Avalanche Lake, and stopped to eat lunch at the top. On the way down, we stopped at Avalanche Creek and talked. We talked all day, stopped for dinner on the way home, and talked the next day. I think we both knew it was right on that first day, that first hike in one of our favorite places in the world. We’ve been inseparable ever since. And despite the rough times that were ahead of us, I love that our story started out so perfectly for us.