Chapter 2: The Emails
Years passed, and we forgot the incidence of our first meeting. We were aquiantances, but that's all. I was planning to move to Amsterdam as a missionary, anyway. Until one Valentine's Day...Michael had been thoroughly depressed at one more V-Day, and called up Sitcom Sarah to say, "It's Valentine's Day, and I have no valentine." Sarah said, "Why don't you come over to Jen's for Thursday Night TV? Maybe Amber will be your valentine." So he arrived. I, also mourning the passing of one more single V-Day, was comforting myself with a baguette and Nutella on the couch. He thought, "what an odd duck, but kind of cute."
We talked, and he told me about his web site. He, it turns out, was a philosopher, English major, and poet like me, and wrote online (pre-blog days). He gave me the address.
The next day, I visited his site, and read. He had posted a poem in Italian and offered a prize to anyone who translated it. That was like catnip for nerds. I, studying Italian and doing my thesis on English translations of poetry, naturally had to find the translation, which I did. We started thus emailing back and forth. Long, ridiculous emails. Long, ridiculous emails about literature and philosophy and dreams and ideals. Anyone else reading them would have probably puked all over the keyboard, but I had found someone who was an idealistic dreamer poet like me and revelled in it. We emailed long and hard.
He quickly found that I was the type of woman he wanted to marry. But I, all ready to move to Amsterdam in the fall, had no such thoughts.
Chapter 3: Good Friday
On Good Friday, my boss gave me the afternoon off. It was one of those unseasonably warm spring days. I called up Michael, and we decided to drive up to Pingree Park to hike, one of the first things we ever did together. After the hour's drive up to the park, we started up a snowy road to the trailhead. I thought the road was questionable at best, but not knowing him well enough to be a backseat driver, kept my mouth shut.
We lurched up the snow-packed road until finally we could go no further. He realized we need to turn around, lest we get stuck. He put his Blazer in reverse and we moved about 3 feet. And then...nothing. We were high-centered on 3 feet of snow. Careless as we were, we decided to hike for awhile, then come back to the car to shovel out. We hiked, threw snowballs, got wet. We got back to the car and started shovelling. And shovelling. And shovelling. Until we finally realized the car wasn't budging. Period. Mike had a little yellow "Worst Case Scenario" book in his car. We read about what to do if you got stuck in the mountains. We realized that by the time we hiked the 8 miles back down to the main road, it would be midnight, no cars would be on the road, and we'd be frozen. Although this March day was warm, we knew the March night would be freezing.
So we took the book's advice and decided to sleep it out in the car. The car had no blankets, and we had on wet jeans and only light jackets. It got down to the 20s. We spent the night shivering...no, convulsing it was so cold. When we got to the point that we were shaking uncontrollably, we'd turn the car on to thaw a bit, trying to conserve gas. The cold, wretched night finally passed, and in the morning, after splitting the one granola bar we'd brought along, we started hiking out.
In this course of time, I had stood up three social engagements, so everyone knew I was missing. Some figured out I had gone out with Mike. They knew we were either in Estes Park or Pingree Park, so they called the county sheriffs. Search parties were sent out in Estes Park and Pingree Park to search for us. Four of our friends piled in a car and set out to scour Pingree Park for our lifeless bodies. They even brought backpacking gear in case they had to rough it out in the backcountry.
Meanwhile, Michael and I were happy as larks, hiking down mountain valleys on a beautiful morning. Singing songs and laughing. At the moment we reached the main road, our friends happened to drive by. They saw us and rescued us. After a stern lecture from the sheriff's department, we were on our way home to assure my frantic mother no mountain lion had gnawed my leg off, and to consider what had just happened.