Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Story of a Boy and a Girl, Chapters 2 and 3

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.

13 comments:

Jon The Hart said...

This part of the story is my personal favorite, because I have fond memories of going up with Mike and Casey to retrieve the Blazer. This section of the story is also amusing for its many unconventional qualities. I always like the romances that don't follow the protocol.

And when did we go to that musical? Whenever I think about that day I still feel bad about ditching Liz because neither of us had the presence of mind to get directions to that pool she was working at....

Anywho, I dig you two and I love your story, especially the parts that have me in them...

barleygreen said...

Oh good, I was waiting for this!

Amber said...

Yeah, Jon, now it doesn't sound that crazy, but at the time, in our conservative church, we were talking shotgun wedding.

We went to Aida way earlier than this...that was the first time I did anything with Mike...or you I guess. I have fond memories of that too.

And, just to make this comment super long, I'll add one more scene from my courtship with Mike that includes you. I'd been emailing with Mike (covertly of course), and one night a group of us all went to Bennigan's. You, Liz, and Mike were all sitting together. So, I was so bold as to go and sit with you bosom buddies. It was so awkward. I was really sorry I did it, realizing it wasn't so easy to get into the group. I was like the outside girl (the hot one) trying to break into the group to steal away a member.

Jen said...

This is so fun to read! I love reading it too, I hope you guys get together in the end!

(Heck, I even made a guest appearance, or at least my place for Thursday TV did!)

Mike said...

Jen was probably also there in the room at the time of the original proposal somewhere, since we were probably relaxing after a game of Plague and Pestilence, which was our fetish that year, I believe.

Somehow the grapevine eventually brought the news of us being missing to my parents in Sterling, where my dad had just finished delivering Casey's sister's baby the night before. Casey (my then roommate) woke up to the sound of my dad invading his house. After explaining that he didn't know where I was and hearing that I had gone missing with Amber, his response was, "Maybe they don't want to be found."

Amber said...

Jen, you play a big role in it, because had I been a male, I would have married you. Totally.

I just remembered another fun part of the story. I had gone out a couple of nights before with my friend Ken, who was an athiest. I told my landlord about this, that we were going out to discuss God, the universe, and everything. So my landlord got confused and somehow the rumor got started that I had gone out with some pagan, trying to evangelize him, and was probably chopped up in a freezer somewhere...

I have to say that the end result of the whole experience was me feeling very loved, because so many had shown concern for me.

Mike said...

Heck, Jen, if I was a polygamist, I would have married you too.

Travis Swan said...

So, nerds like catnip just like cats do? I had no idea!

Random sidenote - Sarah and I happened to be in Sterling that night at the hospital waiting for Dr. Van to deliver Casey's sister's baby. I remember getting quizzed about Mike's whereabouts and somehow not being very concerned.

Also note my feeble attempts at being cool by association with this story. Implication: Mike and Amber are cool.

sarahbri said...

I remember the quizzing too, but I already had my suspicions about the covert emails and the possibility of the start of a relationship, so I just hoped you were alive, but I knew you were together.

Jen, I too would marry you if I were a guy.

I MISS PLAGUE & PESTILENCE SO MUCH!!

Tara said...

I remember being called by Mom and Dad letting me know that you were missing and you were with some guy we had never heard of (not by name anyway). I thought he was some phycho that thought you were hot and took you as his trophy. I thought we would find you somewhere on the side of the road--not breathing. I remember sitting at a French restaurant in Cherry Creek with Patty (the teacher I student taught with) and trying to catch up with her, yet glancing every few minutes at my cell phone to see if you had been found. When I heard that you all were found as you were singing and hiking down the mountain I wanted to scream. Not a happy scream. . . a "what were you thinking--you were in Girl Scouts with me and I taught you how to always be prepared for anything you idiot!" scream.

When we finally got to play mini golf with you and Mike I decided to forgive you for your lack of safety supplies because you were so cute together. I am glad it worked out and that you both found your perfect match!

By the way--in your car right at this second--what kind of emergency supplies are in your trunk? As intelligent as you both are, I want to know if you have learned from your mistakes!!!!!

Amber said...

Tara: what's in my car right now: inflatable river rafts, bike tire pumps, ice scraper, canvas grocery bags. If we get trapped again, we'll Macgyver all these into a tent, an omlette pan, and a Swiss army knife. All the essentials.

robinegg said...

Don't you just love how my husband is so kind and caring? "maybe they don't want to be found"....what a punk! ehhh, we love him though, huh?!?

Naomi said...

Amber, I'm sad that you left out the details of how you two survived that night and kept each other warm : ) ...