The next two weeks were a flurry of getting everything prepared for our road trip. Confirming hotel reservations. Arranging a car rental. Making list after list of places to go, people to see, and food to bring.
And I wasn’t nervous at all.
The man I’d slowly started to fantasize about being married to and I were going to be in a car together for two weeks. I was sure it would make us or break us. I mean, come on, being in that close quarters with anyone for an extended period of time can make you go crazy. I’m going to truncate the story of this road trip a little bit because most of the details are inconsequential.
The first interesting thing to happen was when we tried to cross the border for the first time. I think the agents didn’t really know what to make of us. Neither of us had passports, at the time you didn’t need them to cross between Canada and the US. Robert is 8 years older than I am. He is from Texas, I from Saskatchewan, in a rental car. I probably would have been suspicious too, if we’re being honest here. We were pulled into secondary questioning where two agents (a man and a woman) proceeded to comb through our car looking for, oh, I don’t know, produce. I got into a spat with the man because he didn’t believe it was at all possible for someone who works at a fast food restaurant to get two weeks off of work and CLEARLY I am lying and I am not planning on going back to Saskatchewan, let alone back to work. He asked me for the telephone number of my workplace and I gave it to him. He went and toyed around on his little computer when the woman came up and asked me if Robert was my boyfriend. I admitted that he was and we really were just taking a vacation together. We eventually were let go. When we stopped in Grand Forks to fill up on gas, I called my mom to see if anyone had called. And they did. And I am so glad somebody honest answered the phone, because they could have totally screwed me.
We got horribly lost in Minneapolis and Chicago. We nearly ran out of gas in Cleveland after midnight (I’m sorry, but that shit was scary), and then we made it to Niagara Falls where we would spent two nights. When we checked in to our hotel, they’d overbooked the non-smoking rooms so we were upgraded to a suite with a jacuzzi and a fireplace for no extra charge. Niagara Falls was a really beautiful time in our relationship. Those two days completely sold me on the idea of marrying Robert. When I was with this man, everything in my life was right and beautiful. I had a religious experience while we were on the Maid of the Mist, beneath the falls. It was a beautiful and sunny day, I was in a beautiful place, and Robert was standing behind me with his arms around me. Everything in my life that had gone wrong completely dissolved from my psyche. God was showing me how glorious life really is. I started to cry with happiness but with the mist on my face, nobody could tell. I should mention how we got our Maid of the Mist tickets. We didn’t pay for them. We were walking across the plaza, looking for the ticket booth when we were approached by an older man and his wife from Oklahoma. They introduced themselves to us and offered us a pair of tickets. As it turns out, a friend of their family runs the boats and had sent them 6 tickets but there were only four of them altogether. Instead of fighting over who gets to go twice, they decided to give the tickets to “some young couple in love”.
I can’t make this stuff up.
We stood near these perfect strangers in line, on deck, and when we exited the dock, Jim and his wife said Goodbye and God Bless.
And we were so blessed.
We’d officially been a couple for four months at this point. We went back to our hotel, got a little dressed up and went out for dinner. We went back to our room and we made love.
It was a perfect day.
I sit here and I retell this story and it seems like the kind of things that would appear in a movie script or a romance novel. The kind of thing that if it hadn’t actually happened to me would make me roll my eyes and think “oh, COME ON.” But when I close my eyes and I think back to that day, I can’t help but to lose my breath and get a big stupid grin on my face.