This morning, he woke me bright and early, too early, but he offered hot coffee to ease the pain of broken sleep. We dropped a car at the trailhead so we would have a way home when we finished, came back home and road our bikes to the bus stop. We started our adventure close to home with a transfer in Everett, then got dropped off in Snohomish to start at the South end of Centennial Trail, riding home ~ north 18 miles.
It was a very interesting ride. Two homeless women were giving each other tips on which dumpster to dive into for clothes, showing each other a few trinkets that were special and sharing their health issues and hopes. Neither had any teeth. Usually that is a sign of prolonged Meth usage? They were starting a new day, but it was 'Groundhog Day' again, it seemed. It was so sad. When we transferred in Everett, one gal with a bluetooth planted in her ear and a phone in her hand, also toothless, talked the entire time to an imaginary someone on the other side. A handsome, restless young man talked to himself, looking out the window, slathering it with hot steamy breath and words any time he saw a female outside. I felt violated for the unaware girl each time. A twenty something unkempt girl took a pacifier out of her mouth and asked us where the Seattle bus was. We told her we were new to the bus system, she shrugged, plunked it back in and started sucking on it again! ~ Oh, the broken humans we sat on buses with this morning! Makes me want to ride it more often, then really look them in the eye, see them and learn to love them, instead of feeling the tinge of repulsion I felt, quickly turning away, so I wouldn't meet their eyes.
Craig encouraged me the entire way, finding spots to rest with benches, uncomplainingly made a potty stop, showed me his favorite place - the dock on Lake Cassidy, clicking off the miles with, "Honey, we've gone 1/4 of the way, 1/2 the way, 3/4 of the way, we're on the home stretch now".
When halfway into our ride, my 'lunar cycle' unexpectedly caused 'the tide to come in' and threaten to swamp me and soak my clothes and seat, he knew exactly where a midget store with emergency supplies was, only 150 feet off the trail in Lake Stevens. Unembarrassed, he payed, pointed to the restroom which I couldn't see and waited patiently till I found my composure again.
When we passed under the final bridge and had only 4 miles of easy downhill, he encouraged me to keep going, instead of stopping to rest once more, using my momentum to ease into the finish - enjoying it.
Before we put the bikes in the truck, he hugged me tight and told me how proud he was of me, riding 18 miles in 2 1/2 hours. Him celebrating me doing something which seemed impossible, but which I needed to check off my list, made my day! It wasn't at all record breaking, but we finished what we started.
I dearly love this man and his tenderhearted loving kindness, understanding care and encouragement.