Denice’s version

Denice’s version

My friend Pamela encouraged me to put myself in some social situations centered in common interests. I was feeling social to a point but motivation for extroversion was limited. At the time, I was content with my days and night being filled with my pets, my home, working, watching movies and reading, and visiting friends. I was enjoying peace and liberation in my life. So I thought about what I liked to do but I didn’t think much about doing those things in a group or organized setting. I usually avoid those.

After learning what Pamela suggested my friend Laurel sent me a link to a web-based common interest community called www.MeetUp.com. I wasn’t interested in groups but the concept was new to me and I was curious to learn what in the world all these people around the world were doing. So I poked through the site. Not that I’d be pursuing anything, but one should have an understanding of what’s happening around them you know.

Only my photography interest had an organized group. A bunch of people interested in cameras and photography called Seattle Flickrites. I looked at the member pictures and profiles and they seemed diverse in race, gender, age, and profession. Their next MeetUp was in two days, Thursday night April 27th. I emailed Pamela the link and she replied, “You better register and get yourself to that MeetUp on Thursday night, girlfriend. Life is short!” I showed up at the designated place at the appropriate hour figuring I’d give it an hour.

I sat down, ordered a drink, and began talking with the friendly people around me who also turned out to be clever and interesting. An hour went by and I decided to give it just one more hour.

I recognized Henrik from his member photo ~ white guy with shaved head. When I first saw his member photo I got a visceral feeling I sometimes get when I see something that I’ll be connected with at some future time, but I had forgotten about that feeling. He was at the opposite end of the long bar island and I think it was a couple of hours (or more) before we even said hello to each other but he definitely stood distinct from the crowd. He was tall and European (tall European men are yummy.) He seemed a little quirky and a smidge odd. His head was shaved and he was wearing an orange short-sleeve collared shirt with whimsical circle designs in the print over a pair of green plaid walking shorts and black Teva sandals.

Henrik was flirting up a storm with two girls at the opposite end of the bar island and I could see (and hear) that he had too much to drink, the latter being horribly unattractive to me but I was having a good time chatting with folks and by that time I had ordered an appetizer. So I’d give it just one more hour.

Around 9 p.m. people started excusing themselves and only four of us remained: David, Ras, Henrik, and myself. We talked, laughed, told stories, and took silly pictures. I had to look passed the drinking and obnoxious flirting that night because my gut told me Henrik was probably a friendly, sincere, kind-hearted, educated, articulate, intelligent, well-traveled, well-read, hilariously funny, quick-witted guy. Unique and different. Geeky. And very sweet. But it was when he popped off with the most excellent Swedish Chef impersonations and had us all rolling on our bar chairs that he began to cast his Swedish Love Spell upon me. As with any good Spell, I had no idea I was infected (or as Henrik would say “impregnated”) at the time.

Midnight had arrived and the four of us decided to depart, after all it was a school night. I had stayed a full four hours longer than initially planned, largely due to Henrik making me laugh. As we were leaving Henrik walked to his bike against the side of the restaurant and we all said our goodbyes there. I’d been wanting to take some long bike rides and he did say he was training to climb Mr. Rainier.

Hmm. Well. Ok.

So I emailed Henrik and asked if he’d be interested in a long bike ride. My invitation was companionable and platonic, I just wanted to learn more about him. I thought he was one of the most interesting and funny people I’ve ever met. He accepted.

We decided on a 20-mile route around Mt. Vernon. I was running late and didn’t pack a lunch. I’d ridden around Mt. Vernon before and knew I could buy food along the way. We began our ride in the rain and Henrik was such a good sport. I joked it’d be nice to do some wine tasting. Ask And Ye Shall Receive! Somehow we unintentionally veered from our mapped route and ended up at a shack that sold wine from their vineyard and offered wine tasting! We were having fun and decided to do the full route, almost 50 miles total. Immediately upon leaving the shack we encountered the mother of all headwinds. We had just enough of a buzz to dull our wise senses and we kept going. I swear I was peddling my hardest but going backwards. Henrik saw I was struggling and rode beside me, put his arm around me, and helped me make it down that never-ending two-lane country road of hell. When I thought I could peddle no more, we reached a T in the road and were able to get a side wind, which was fractionally better than the headwind. We stopped at a waterfront park for lunch. The weather had improved and even become sunny. Henrik packed a large lunch for himself and shared it with me since all I had were some energy bars. I won’t go into the gushy details (you can read Henrik’s version) but he kissed me on the cheek and we’ve been together ever since. What started out as a companionable, platonic bike ride unexpectedly turned into loyalty and devotion.

And we will ride into the sunset together with our cameras in our bike bags in search of all that life has to offer, in this body and out, To Infinity And Beyond!

PS: I did own one pair of bike shorts which I can no longer seem to find. And hey, I would have been happy on my hybrid bike if I had an exceptionally comfortable seat. Our asses hurt for days but neither of us had an exceptionally comfortable seat. I’ve heard that if you want to see someone’s true colors (such as on a date) you should do sport with them. I think there’s wisdom in that idea. We encountered rain and grey skies, gale force winds, hills, and I didn’t pack lunch. Henrik was mild-mannered, positive, generous, and funny and even though he can pedal faster than I can, he rode with me the entire trip. And somehow he becomes more unbelievably remarkable and groovy with each day.

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