It’s really already the 6th but like the rest of the weekend, it’s the day after and I’m just now getting to write about it. My last day in Saint Louis was long and again, full of memorable moments.
It was quite overcast and chilly which was very much a contrast from the sunny 71 we had on Saturday. We tried to have a bit of a plan in the morning, to go for Crepes at City Coffee House and Crêperie and walk Forest park but as it often happens, plans were foiled. This time is was mostly a timing issue because it was high noon when we arrived and there were folks packed in waiting for tables. I don’t do “waiting for tables” so we had to move on.
It was also sprinkling just a little bit and I gather that Josh did not want to walk in the rain so we opted to go get coffee and have a taste of some gooey butter cake. We drove to City Park Coffee but not the original location, one that’s new-ish in an area of town that looks like it’s getting a remodel. I’m not sure what that part of the city is called but the buildings had hip, modern look to them and the streets and spaces quite open. This was a contrast from my impression of the rest of the city where much of what I had seen was very old and dense and somewhat industrial.
I ordered a raspberry mocha latte which is a thing I try to order other places, but when it’s not on the menu I end up requesting they add this and that to it to get it right and it’s never quite right. It was, however, on the menu here, so they had the ratio down already and it’s probably the best one I’ve ever had. I’m sure my opinion was not swayed by the accompaniment of the gooey butter cake. He’s told me this is a Saint Louis thing and after I had it, I am certain it should also be an everywhere else thing too. It was the bomb. We lounged for a little bit in some cool chairs and finished the gooey and then took the rest of what coffee we had left to go. (My sweet tooth, getting the better, of me insisted on also getting a triple chocolate brownie to go as we walked out the door.)
From there we drove to Forest Park and first drove around the park a bit and then settled on a spot near one of the museums as the starting point for our walk. He knows that I have a goal to get 12,000 steps a day and when we started out, we were on something like 300, so it seemed like a stretch that we were going to be able to achieve that. Especially since the weather was so chilly and neither of us really felt like walking.
After we got going however, something changed. It was the scenery and the conversation and pretty soon we were far from where we started and not minding the cold at all. Just like when driving around the city, he was the navigator and I was just following directions. We walked past fountains and museums and water with trees and streets and bridges and along walkways near the edge of the park with a view of some really cool houses. It was the biggest park I think I have ever been at and I was quite surprised about that. I’m not sure why. Then, as we were nearing the end of our giant loop and the car was in site, my FitBit buzzed on my wrist signaling that I had indeed achieved the goal. Perfect.
I don’t want to forget this part though. Along the way we sat for a little bit on a bench by some tall trees overlooking the water. It was near the edge of the park where you can also see the main street and BJC rising up behind that. It was very much like the bench that I sat on last year with Matt when he proposed to me and I had to say no. It was such a rush of an unexpected reminder that my heart couldn’t take it and I fell into tears. I was looking away at the time, so Josh would not see, but he might have known anyway.
I’ve sort of felt like this trip was a milestone for me. My first trip without Matt. My first set of experiences that were positive and really proof that life goes on and can be great again. The entire trip had been, up to that point, really unique and amazing and satisfying. This tender moment was no exception, but it was the first time my sadness really swelled. It was such a tough thing for me to do to not accept his proposal but I never want to have to break up with a person just to make them realize how they feel about me. That’s not how it’s supposed to work and that is not what I intended when I broke it off. The proposal was a shock and I wasn’t prepared for it. The heartbreak I endured after was also something I was not prepared for. This trip was about me starting to live my life again.. me living for me. In that moment, on that bench, I embraced what I had experienced as just a tiny sliver of my life as a whole and let it become something happy instead of sad. We are the sum of our experiences, but we also have the freedom to choose how we let those events shape us. I took some deep breaths of cold air and found peace in the stark contrast of the hot tears running down my cheeks.
After just a little bit of time, that moment was passed and we were up and walking again to finish out the loop. I had achieved several goals and I felt wonderful.
There’s more to this day, but alas, I am short on time so it will have to wait.