Highway was reaching down beside his bike and I wondered if everything was alright.
He turned towards me and handed a lovely purple flower to me that he had picked from the roadside popping up between the slabs of asphalt on the overpass.
Since then, this poignant moment floods my mind a few times a day, his tender gesture done on a whim, reminding me that I am loved and I am not alone.
Two bikers, geared in leather, one offering a purple tiny flower, the other shedding a tear. It doesn't sound all that tough, all that bad ass, does it? But the way I see it, it is one of the toughest things to do. To be genuine and unafraid to show one's true self. It takes a real bad ass to look inside and see what they've run from and covered up their entire lives.
That's what we've done on this Road Pickle. Riding this many miles over this amount of time gives one an incredible amount of time to think, feel, process and learn.
This Road Pickle has been painfully enlightening; at an alarming rate peeling away the walls I've spent my life hiding behind. The same is true for my new husband, who is desperately trying to get his feet under him before uncovering yet another layer of himself. When I met and fell in love with Highway it was only a few months into the relationship that I realized I would have to let my guard down if I wanted to let myself love him. It was the hardest decision I have ever made.
I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I had spent my life holding this as my theme song. I would sing this to myself if I felt hurt, building those walls back up again. Until Highway, my daughter Olivia and my niece Shelli were the only two who had seen inside my fortress. At times even they had been ousted to the outside, leaving me safe inside, alone. Suddenly I was standing before this man I truly wanted to connect with and had to decide whether I was going to tear the block walls down, or fall in love.
Since that moment these walls, of which I had far more than I realized, have been tumbling down. It seems every day on this Road Pickle I find out even more. Many of these revelations have been joyous, some humorous, and some incredibly painful. Right now I'm struggling with pain.
But I have that moment on the overpass in Columbus to hold onto that gets me through.
Because the most important thing I've learned in 10,000 miles, over 4 months, is the moments we choose to hold in our hearts are the ones which define our lives.
I'll hold my purple flower for now.