Around this time last year, about a week later, Reilly took me on a drive through the Alpine Loop. I was hoping — hoping — that he would kiss me for the first time on this date. We wound around the mountain, the vibrant colors jumped at our eyes and danced with the setting sun. We got out of the car and stood together on an overlook.
He gave me a hug and put his arm around me, then . . . nothing. After watching the sun set, we got back into the car, went to JCW’s for a burger, then we went back to his place where we listened to some music and watched Breaking Bad. So, not a complete loss.
Reilly later explained how scared he was that evening. He really wanted to, but he couldn’t, because he was too nervous.
We drove the Alpine Loop last night. The car climbed the winding road through the aspens, up the back side of Mount Timpanogos. On the descent toward American Fork, we stopped at a parking lot for one of the main overlooks. It was the same place we stood last year, right when I was expecting that first kiss. We took some photos, we made fun of things — particularly the beautiful family that was getting professional portraits taken — and we looked at the halo the sun formed behind the peak nearest to us.
Before we got back into the car, Reilly leaned down and kissed me gently on the lips. Confidently. Without hesitation. I asked him if that’s how he would have done it last year. He said maybe, except that he would have also pooped his pants. Yes, he said, “pooped.” And of course it perfectly describes his level of nervousness so many years ago. Which is less than one.
He’s exceeded all my hopes.
Here are some photos we took. The leaves turned early this year, and I was afraid the colors would have faded too much. They were much brighter two weeks ago, and many of the leaves have fallen to the ground. Fortunately, the Alpine Loop is almost always beautiful, except when there are fires. People, don’t start fires.