My emotional tank was on empty when we rolled into Taos, NM. My emotions had worn thin from our horrendous argument in Las Cruces, the affects of which still lingering into our stay in Albuquerque. I found myself simply limping from city to city, with only the ride keeping me alive from day to day. The thrill of rounding turns into new landscapes eased my soul, but my broken heart still needed nurturing. Dismounting Katie Scarlet I hobbled into the Taos hotel room, still fully geared up and lay on the bed with my head still strapped in my helmet. I was completely and utterly spent.
My physical tank was dry the next day when we rolled into Trinidad, CO. I was pushing myself to ride as far as I could in spite of my chronic pain disorder Fibromyalgia. This day I had endured nearly 100 miles of consistent twisties, a rain and hail storm, and my second long day in the saddle. I had taken my body to the brink. So much so that we had to stay an extra day in Trinidad just to rest my weary, painful, swollen body. Almost every joint was swollen to the point of being unable to bend. The assortment of organic muscle salves, prescription numbing creams, mild pain meds, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory meds were not impacting the rock-hard cramped muscles of my 47-year-old frame. The pain was dibilitating and I was nearly bed-ridden. The hotel hot tub was my saving grace and released me from the crippling tension, allowing me to relax enough to sleep and ride on to Denver the next day.
220 miles from Trinidad, CO to Golden, CO (just outside of Denver) was the long, boring, straight Interstate 25. Highway and I entertained ourselves taking photos of the scenery and one another, taking turns riding hands-free, and letting our minds sort through the emotional baggage we had burdened ourselves with. I was hoping for relief, for both of us. Steve's mother Maki, brother Mark and sister-in-law Bev live in Denver and were anticipating our arrival. My high-school and now Facebook friend Kimmy, who had recently moved to Golden, CO, had invited us to stay in her guest suite of the new home she and her husband Guy had just purchased. Deep in my heart I hoped that Highway and I would both find sanctuary for our broken hearts as well as my broken, tired body.
Our first night I encouraged Highway to go visit his family on his own so he could catch up privately with them. After 17 months of intense emotional therapy, we both had brought many old scars to the surface to be properly sorted and dealt with for one final time. We were stunned to find how much these old hurts were driving our daily behaviors and longed to make real changes in how we relate to one another, as well as everyone else. This visit would be part of Highway's process.
For my part I was hoping to just get in a little girl talk and reminisce about our hometown. Kimmy's husband Guy also came from our hometown of Fontana, CA, and my parents as well as Kimmy's both graduated from our alma mater, Fontana High, in 1958 together. But from the moment we hugged as she greeted us at the door, it was so much more.
I feel replenished here with Kimmy. The spring I hoped to find became an enormous lake of support, understanding and love. In my lifetime I've had trouble trusting women and allowing myself to be honest with them, but in the later years I've learned to forge real female friendships. To my surprise, our shared past would be only a jumping off point for Kimmy and myself. The empathy and insight between us seems to have built a bond that I feel I can trust, for perhaps the rest of my life. I feel at home here in their home, moreso than I ever had at my own mother's home as an adult. Having never felt anything like this, I chose to embrace the feeling, cook them a special dinner and treat them to a night off after a hard's days work for them both.
For Highway, he's been somewhat forthcoming about his family visits, only one of three I've been a part of, but he seems introspective, contemplative and finding a bit of serenity himself. Even more taciturn than usual, Highway is working out his feelings before expressing them, as most men do. But I'm pleased to see a sense of peace coming over him that he's been chasing for a very long time.
What one finds on a road trip often surprises us. Nothing could have surprised me more than to find my old friend become my new friend, hopefully for many, many years to come. My oasis of peace, my nurturing, loving supporter, my cheering fan, my partner is silliness and mayhem flirting with young men, Kimmy has healed my broken heart utterly effortlessly. All she had to do was be genuine, be honest, be herself and just be . . . a friend.