A year ago today, I rode my bike to work.
It was part of a master plan to be healthier and greener, more sustainable and more “urban.” Five days earlier, I’d moved into my new home in what I then thought was a perfect spot to be.
Riding my bike to work was part of the package, part of the new life, part of the happier world I was creating.
That morning, before I left, I sent a text message to a new friend.
He replied: “Thanks!”
And then, helmet on, laptop in my backpack, I locked up the new house and set off for the office. On two wheels for the first time.
I didn’t love it. But I wanted to. And I decided the badass quotient I carried in with me while pushing my bike through the newsroom to my cubicle would help the habit continue.
That afternoon, it started to rain.
I watched the clouds grow darker and the sky grow angrier out the window near my desk.
It will stop, I told myself as the afternoon waned. The clouds will part.
I will make it home, on my bike. Dry. In one piece.
But the clouds didn’t part and the rain didn’t stop and the sky didn’t get any lighter, minus the intermittent flashes of lightning.
The time to head home came, so I thought about being brave. I donned the helmet and grabbed the bike.
As I rode down the elevator, I thought, it won’t be so bad. It’s just rain.
But it was a lot of rain, and it was cold, and it was uphill. And the rain kept pounding, soaking my hair and freezing my skin and flooding my eyes.
It was, in the moment, character-building.
And in a small, odd way, it was exhilarating.
I finally made it home, to my new house in my new neighborhood, on my way to my new life.
I walked the bike up the steep driveway, licked rain off my lips and went inside and dried off.
I thought about the new friend with the birthday, wondered how he was celebrating. Two nights later, I’d make a point to stop at the bar where he worked. I’d not want to leave.
Over the next month, we’d get to know each other better. We’d decide to begin. We’d laugh like I never have before; he’d show me music for the first time.
All the pieces fit.
Today, that new friend is my husband, the key piece I didn’t yet know I’d find a year ago in Omaha, out in the rain.
We live in the Utah desert.
We live in the land of red sand and heat and sun and lizards and ants and very few clouds. Every day, the sun shines. Every day, the heat swelters.
Here in the desert, it’s raining.
I stood in my office just now, alone, watching the wind blow rain sideways down the street.
It was impossible not to think about last year, about that Tuesday I rode my bike to work. About that thunderstorm that made me feel alive, part of it all.
About that man, that cowboy, that made my new life real, that makes me believe anything is possible, that married me, married us, back in March.
Today is my love’s birthday. That is worth celebrating.