I watched the brilliant, illuminated “M” (for Mines) fade into the distance as the blue and orange bird carried me on farther through the darkness towards home. I never felt the wetness on my cheek, nor the sting of tears in my eyes until steadily the drops rolled through the creases of my pursed lips and I tasted the salty displeasure. I am not certain what brought me to tears; it could be the thought of leaving behind some of the most gorgeous sites I have ever laid eyes on… it might be that I am now back in my own aggravating adult reality where I have to be responsible and make a decision that will impact my life majorly, or it very well could be because I had to yet again turn around and walk away from a person that I appreciate and deeply admire. Either way, I am grateful for making the voyage even after I told myself not to do so. Sometimes second-guesses are just recoveries for lasting impressions.
Let us regress to the beginning: My plane touched down, I say touched, but really it was more like slammed. I suppose the flight attendant’s stand-up comedy routine was over compensating for the pilots impending failure. The heaviest of sleepers jumped awake, startled by the impact and I am certain that at least one guy bumped his head on the overhead cabin. Even the small child behind me verbalized his disapproval. He also mocked the flight attendant for the duration of the flight, but for the first time in my long 24 years of life, I was not annoyed. Shocked? Yeah, me too!
Denver airport was much easier to maneuver than Las Vegas airport; why? Because there were no stumbling drunks and flashy casino lights distracting travelers. We in Denver, as a herd of cattle would, walked in sync towards the baggage claim… and I illuminated the halls with my ear to ear smile and apparently tainted it with my not-so-obvious-to-anyone-but-native-Coloradans Texas drawl, open-toed heels and paper thin tank top. (Granted I was not made aware until later in my trip that Texans were not welcomed with open arms in the great state of Colorado). So why the goofy smile if I am obviously a potential target for mockery? I knew that not just a warm, snuggly jacket and lambskin lined Crocs were waiting for me at the baggage claim… a 5’10, blue-eyed brunette with the smile that lights up the sky and a lip bite that is cuter than mine (trust me, another shocker, I am aware :P) was waiting to wrap me in the greatest bear hug in the history of “huggage.”
Now, keep in mind that this guy is several years younger than me and is not a potential suitor even though he is insanely attractive in his own right. When he is not being a typical Colorado School of Mines student, he is definitely a pleasure to be around- apparently the brilliance of these students exempts them from ever being wrong… I think that it is also the male default mentality so I really do not hold it against him. In truth, I am certain there is much that irks us both about each other, but the offsets in personality seem to also be complimentary and allow a solid friendship to thrive. Which is what inevitably brought me to beautiful Golden, CO.
To say that this past weekend was incredible provides very little justice- the experience is insurmountable. Between real snow, indoor sand volleyball and a mountain-top sunrise, I was exposed to more firsts than a lowly Houston girl could fathom during a mini-vacation. There were also slippery sidewalks, a 7 foot tall college student, Coors brewery and fondue! Yes, Andrew spoiled me terribly throughout my stay; I have no complaints.
There were a few rocky spots (and I do not mean those beautiful, rolling mountains). At La Fondue, I was made fully aware of the general dislike of Texans. Be sure to lie about where you are from if it happens to be Texas. The waitress was bubbly, adorably making small talk until she mistakenly asked me where I was from. She fell absolutely silent and I think she might have rolled her eyes when I very proudly responded “Houston!” Talk about awkward! Neither Andrew nor I knew how to react to her reaction and since she was stirring in the first of our 3-cheese fondue appetizer, we had to endure a solid 2 minutes of tension. I swear it felt like an eternity before she finally, silently, fled the table. I can only imagine her discomfort, especially with the pronounced glances that Andrew and I kept throwing one another. I do not recall her ever returning to the table through the duration of our meal… fortunately, the servers work in groups. She specialized in cheese; bet her mom is so proud. Wonder if she is from Wisconsin *hmm*
WARNING: This paragraph gets mushy for a brief moment. We woke up at 6:15am on Sunday morning to grab breakfast- Venti soy, no water Vanilla Rooibos tea latte for me and a sausage, egg and cheese bagel for him that was later described as orgasmic by one of his volleyball teammates. We then proceeded to drive up the mountain to look out point to watch the sun rise promptly at 7am. I know what you are thinking- straight to DVD, chick flick material, but the act of driving me up there with the intent of it being romantic is as mushy as it gets (I told you that it was brief). Andrew remained in the truck with his bagel and rap music… and heater, while I froze my tush off in an effort to snag some rather poor quality photos of the overlook. I must admit though, that he was beyond adorable all bundled up in the truck savoring every bite of his bagel.
We eventually had to venture back down the mountain to meet his team for the indoor volleyball tournament. His teammates ranged from about 5’6 to 7 foot tall (seriously). However, Mines is and engineering school- a way of life so it seems- and is not known for its athletics, so it came as no surprise to me that the team was almost totally dominated. Rest easy, Andrew gave me fair warning just as he did about the warm, Colorado welcome I was bound to receive during my trip. Only, I am familiar with volleyball (and losing) so there was no surprise. As I sarcastically scoff, I say that I am an absolute stranger to rejection. HA! I wish. Anyway, despite my teasing/critiquing of Andrew’s performance, he really is a pleasure to watch. He is vocal, intense and at times I swear he jumps as high as I am tall. When he sets, well, he knows…
Now that I have literally written through the duration of my flight home, I am descending into Houston and I honestly do not find myself thrilled by this reality. I am anxious to see my pup and my family, but Colorado is hands down the most naturally beautiful and intriguing state I have visited thus far.
Anyway, I already miss Andrew. Funny how in the most random places we make unlikely friends, but they impact our lives enough to almost instantaneously secure a place in our lives forever. Yeah, he happens to be one of those individuals, aka, a pretty rad dude.