We left Constance's apartment that morning fully reenergized and armed with her list of things to do. We had the full day to ourselves and wanted to explore Denver as much as we could possibly take in.
What we immediately realized when we started walking to the Light Rail (Denver's name for the Metro system), however, was the altitude. Whooo! I was out of breath walking up a 30 degree incline and I felt as if I had asthma. We were definitely in the Mile High City.
|Jordan playing around at the Light Rail.|
Once we got to the Light Rail, Jordan and I and looked at the map for one minute before asking a guy nearby for help. He told us which line we needed to get on, introduced himself as Jesse, and we in turn explained that it was our first time in Denver, that we were from North Carolina and on a road trip to LA.
"Wow, I wish I had some weed on me so I could give it to you guys as a welcome to Denver gift," Jesse said.
I didn't know what to say; did he just always give weed away to people he had just met? Was everyone like this? Mind you, this was before the Election and weed was not yet legalized in the state of Colorado.
I was still trying to process his generosity when he handed us a still chilled and unopened Gatorade. "Here, I noticed that you guys don't have anything to drink and it can get to be real hot."
Hot was an understatement: Jordan and I had been outside for about 20 minutes and were already sweating profusely. We thanked him over and over again for his help and for the drink.
By the time we boarded the train we were all smiles. Denver was already exceeding its expectations. And speaking of smiling, a different guy with dirty blonde hair was smiling directly at me from the back of the train. He was very handsome, and had a bike by his side. Then, to my horror, he started heading in our direction. I turned my head around, wondering if I was mistaken and was saying hi to someone sitting behind me. When I looked back, he was already in the seat beside me.
"Couchsurfers? Lisa?" was all that he asked, with a knowing grin.
"Yes!" I said, brightening up after the secret CS word.
"I'm Aaron! I just got your request this morning and literally just saved your number in my phone so I could call you after lunch! That's so crazy we saw each other on the Light Rail!"
A coincidence was more like it. I instantly liked Aaron and his energy. I also had the vibe that he was not a hetero...unfortunately. Aaron said that he had to have lunch with a friend and we explained that we were on our way to the Museum of Contemporary Art.
"Oh, that's this stop," Aaron said quickly as the train came to a sudden halt. "You should get off right now...like NOW!"
Jordan and I practically jumped out of the train a split second before the doors closed.
"Thank god I got someone to respond to my requests in Denver," I said to Jordan. "I was beginning to think that I was letting you down as a partner."
"I think he bats for my team," was his only reply. I knew it.
This museum was legions better than the one we went to in Nashville. It even had a rooftop garden and a classroom with sleeping bags in a corner. As we were finishing up the visit on the rooftop garden, Aaron called me to say that he was done with "lunch," but only ate ice cream so he could eat again with us since we were hungry. I told him our location and was going to walk to him, if it weren't for the rain and hail that had just started to fall from the sky out of nowhere. I thought Wilmington weather was random but boy, did Denver have us beat. Poor Aaron was riding his bike through the rain and hail when he rode past us until I yelled at him to finally stop.
|Best classroom set-up in a museum. Ever.|
We ate at a place nearby so that we could all dry. We learned that Aaron was introduced to Couchsurfing when we went traveling abroad in Italy. He had had less than perfect hosts, however, including an older man who had asked Aaron to sleep with him in his bed, and then left the door ajar anyways after he said no. He had just moved back to Denver, where his family lived, to be a farmer– something I would never have guessed looking at him. I had originally sent him a request because he had just left LA and would be able to give me a few pointers about the city.
When we were all fed, we went to the Great Divide Brewery downtown– also a part of Constance's list. We came just in time for a free tour of the brewery that they did every hour or so. I didn't even make it to half of the tour before I was drunk from half a pint. "It's the altitude," I blamed. I swore to Aaron this wasn't normal and I tried to nudge over my leftover pint on him.
It was unbelievably effortless to talk and hang out with Aaron, I discovered (and that isn't the beer talking). It was as if we had been best friends in a past life. It was getting late by the time the tour was over, and Jordan and I figured we had better grab my car from Constance's and make moves. We agreed to meet up with Aaron later on that night, at a place where he mentioned "Drag Queen Bingo" was supposed to occur.
All in all it had been a fantastic day...and then came Sam.