Leaving Seattle under moist, gray skies, the 50 degrees painfully cut through my layers of clothing, leaving me feeling naked and raw. Knowing the pain my husband was feeling, I sobbed uncontrollably in the privacy of my helmet, behind my bandana-covered face, until somewhere south of Tacoma. Choking on my sobs, I felt my heart break for these two men, torn apart by the selfishness of others years ago, kept apart by the selfishness of others now.
Now it was clear. The chasm has become too far to bridge.
Highway rode stoically, like the machine we were mounted upon, for over 75 miles. He didn't make one unnecessary movement, look up from the road, relax his shoulders, nor gaze about. He was a machine, doing what had to be done. He had decided that this would be his last trip here. Leaving meant the end of the relationship he had always longed for. Leaving meant the end of trying to retrieve what had been stolen from him so long ago.
The clouds would not relent to the sun. The cold cut through my layers of jacket, hoodie, bandana, helmet, Tshirt, scarf, leggings, jeans, gloves, socks and boots. The gray road and the gray skies stretched out before us, unyielding to our suffering, with no end in sight.
I didn't want Highway to know I had been crying, so I kept my body from his as much as I could until I was done. The motorcycle is so intimate. Words are not needed to show feelings between rider and passenger. There are so many other ways to share oneself.
After regaining myself I placed my hands on his hips and wondered how he was feeling. It hit me then; he was only wearing his vented, summer jacket. He had not donned his hoodie underneath! He must be freezing!
I motioned for him to pull over at the rest stop.
"Will you please put your hoodie on for me?" I asked him sweetly.
"Yes," he quietly replied.
I didn't want to push him, assuming he was doing his best to contain his feelings. Going into the Ladie's Room I was greeted with a hand dryer, which I embraced for a few minutes to warm my frozen body.
Heading back to the bike, Highway and I enjoyed a brief, meaningless conversation about the weather and places to eat in Portland.
"I just want to get to Portland," I told myself. "Once we get to Portland, this will all be behind us."
"Fuck you Washington!" I shouted as we approached the bridge. "Fuck you!"
Crossing the bridge, we both left it all behind. Happily in love, we chowed on Indian food-truck grub and rolled about Portland a bit, before reentering Interstate 5 southbound.
Being together, we were already home.