”I think that one of the things that you learn is that falling in love and being in love with someone is a rarity. That you don’t fall in love as many times as you think you’re going to. And when you do, it’s really special; it’s really important.” Julianne Moore
Fifteen days. Fifteen very long, cold, snowy days, since my airport goodbye with the perfect stranger.
Even though we maintained constant communication via text, email, and phone, it wasn’t enough! I missed her and I wanted more than a friendship. Call me impulsive, may be even slightly pathetic. I didn’t care; I made my intentions known.
Regardless of the outcome, it felt like a win-win situation. I valued the sacredness of our friendship and I was committed to maintaining it. I knew romanticizing our friendship could complicate our lives. Somehow, I wasn’t worried; either way, friendship or relationship, it was a lifelong commitment.
While many lesbians in my community joke about having U-Haul relationships, I wanted my friendship and potential romance to be different. I was invested; trading the U-Haul for the long haul!
After receiving a positive response to my New Year’s video, the perfect stranger and I planned an immediate adventure. Consider it round two; no longer where we strangers, and we weren’t simply just friends.
January 5, 2015 I left the snow melt of Vermilion Cliffs, bound for Prescott airport. Slightly panicked, as I had slept through my alarm, I could only hope the perfect stranger’s flight had been delayed; otherwise, I would be officially running late.
Being late was out of the norm for me. It was unfamiliar as falling in love with a perfect stranger. Growing up in Australia, there were only two excusable reasons for tardiness. Either your mother was in the hospital or you had been killed. That was it! Any other excuses, explanations, or reasons were deemed unacceptable.
As I looked at my watch, I made peace with the reality of the situation. I was going to be late. I had 3 hours to complete a four hour drive. Outside of refraining from roadside photo opportunities and limiting my bathroom breaks; there was simply no way to make up the time.
Note to self – I do not recommend holding your pee on a long drive. The bladder strain and fear of peeing yourself while driving is not enjoyable. Airport entrances are not attractive when your hands are dam walling your urethra.
After a loving embrace and an apology for being late, the perfect stranger and I headed to the Flagstaff Nordic Center. For the next few days we would be yurting in the Coconino National forest. That’s right, I said yurting!
Like two excited kids waking up on Christmas morning, the perfect stranger and I headed into the Nordic Center for check in. As the only overnight guests, we were given free reign picking our yurt location. Still struggling with her knee injury, I suggested to the perfect stranger we ease up on the miles and stay in a yurt close to the lodge.
She wasn’t having it! Not in this lifetime anyway. The perfect stranger insisted we hike to our yurt. Who was I to tell her no? She said she could do it and I believed her.
After a quick lunch, the perfect stranger and I put on your packs and hit the trail. With minimal snow, snowshoes weren’t necessary; however, they were still a Nordic Center requirement.
Less than a mile into our hike, we decided the snowshoes were more a hindrance than a help. Without adequate snow, it felt like we were dry-landing it in flippers. They had to go!!
Celebrating our foot freedom, the perfect stranger took a selfie shot that captured the spirit of our connection. There was no denying it; we were a dynamic duo, a perfect pair, a true team. This is what happiness looks like!
With the yurt in plain sight, the perfect stranger and I made a bee-line for base camp. Neither one of us had been backcountry glamping before; it was another shared first.
After unpacking our gear, the perfect stranger and I took a late afternoon stroll through the forest. With less than an hour until sunset, we didn’t venture too far away from camp. We were on a mission though, in search of a pink sunset!
During our maiden voyage, the perfect stranger explained to me that pink was not only her favorite color, it was a lifestyle!
Can one color really inspire a way of life? Can one color determine your choice of attire, kitchenware, and car accessories? Who knew one color could bring so much joy. What better way to honor the perfect stranger than be giving her a sky of pink.
As we left the yurt, I offered my hand to the perfect stranger. She responded by holding mine. While some may consider hand holding a simple gesture, I consider it sacred. Out of all the people on the planet, the perfect stranger chose to hold my hand. Now that’s special!
Patiently waiting for our pink sky, the perfect stranger and I made ourselves comfortable in the snow.
Life for me has never been about personal milestones, it has always come down to magic moments. This was one of them!
With her beautiful brain resting in my lap, not even the frozen ground could stop my heart from melting. I had helplessly fallen in love with a woman I had yet to kiss. How is that even possible? Is this the way love is meant to be? Could getting to know someone without fast-tracking physical intimacy be key to a long-term love affair? Our pending first kiss felt inevitable; it was more of matter of when than if. For now, my focus was finding a pink sky for the love of my life.
Less than ten minutes down the trail, a pink hue sky appeared through the trees.
Captivated, the perfect stranger stared into the pink empyrean as if it offered some type of cosmic healing. Perhaps color psychologists are right: pink is seen as the color of hope. Pink inspires warm and comforting feelings, creating a sense that everything will be okay.
Pink is a symbol of compassion, nurturing, and love. It’s a color that represents the sweetness and innocence of the child in all of us. Pink is also said to be the color of uncomplicated emotions.
I feel color psychologists had exquisitely described the perfect stranger. Perhaps she is more a pink goddess than my perfect stranger. Either way, I knew pink defined her. It made her happy and brought her peace.
Pink and the perfect stranger are my package deal in the most uncomplicated way. Here’s to pink!