Bryan and Lisa started dating in May of 2017, after meeting online through OKCupid. Lisa had been skeptical about online dating, and had always dismissed her friends’ suggestions to try it with the excuse that she was “too busy.” However, in May 2017, Lisa was now finished with her degree, and her new job didn’t start for a few weeks. This left her with a sudden abundance of time on her hands. So, she finally made herself a profile, figuring that she could at least get some funny stories to share with her friends. After sifting through a bunch of messages ranging from the boring to the outright offensive, Lisa was surprised when Bryan sent her a message asking about her favourite books. Apparently he had actually read her profile! She liked what she read in his profile as well (although admittedly it was quite long, so she may have skimmed a couple sections). And his message seemed like a good start, so Lisa decided to respond to Bryan.
Bryan was surprised when he messaged Lisa and she replied back with thoughtful messages and questions. This was very different from most of his experience with online dating. She even thought his texts pretending she had messaged a “Cat Facts” hotline were funny. So, he had a good feeling about Lisa before they met.
For their first date they met for a drink on the Hotel MacDonald patio, overlooking the Edmonton river valley. Bryan was very nervous, but fortunately did not screw anything up too badly… except that he made a joke about murdering Lisa in the River Valley… and then they went for a walk in the River Valley as it got dark. This was the first sign Bryan picked up about potential deficiencies in Lisa’s survival instincts. Despite Bryan’s best efforts, their date was not derailed, but instead was so enjoyable that they spent many more hours than planned together. This resulted in a final stop at Oodle Noodle to use the bathroom and enjoy some green onion cakes, before Lisa caught the late train home.
For their second date they went to El Cortez for Mexican food, and then Bryan took Lisa to the Muttart Conservatory. They sat together on the roof and watched downtown Edmonton as the sun set. At that point Bryan realized that he and Lisa had something special (Lisa realized they had something special because Bryan brought along a thermos of her favourite wine).
The days went by and Bryan and Lisa spent a lot of time together. Things were going much better than either of them expected. So what is the logical thing to do when something is working well? Test out the limits, of course.
Just over a month after their first date, they went on a road trip to Drumheller and Banff. To start out their day in Drumheller, they went to visit the Hoodoos. Bryan really wanted to climb to the top of a short cliff behind the Hoodoos, to get a better view of the badlands. Lisa told Bryan that she wouldn’t mind climbing up the steep path, but with her fear of heights, coming back down the same way was not going to be an option (or at least not an option either of them would enjoy). Bryan had done this climb about 10 years ago, and vaguely remembered a less steep path that wound gently down the other side of the slope. Assuming Bryan could find this trail, it would eventually lead them back to the parking lot in a leisurely manner. So he confidently told Lisa, “don’t worry.” At this point in the relationship, that did not set off any alarm bells for Lisa. That would soon change.
They began their ascent, with Bryan providing lots of coaxing and encouragement, and Lisa providing lots of “commentary.” Bryan was proud of how well Lisa was doing, but he was also a bit worried about whether or not the promised path back down actually existed. When they reached the top of the hill, they both breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the view. Then it was time to go back down, and Bryan realized he was sweating a lot more than the exertion and temperature alone would warrant. He was now quite worried that he would never find the path he had promised, leaving two less-than-desirable options: make Lisa butt-slide back down the way they came, or attempt a smoother but multi-hour circuitous route. Both of these options carried significant risk to their relationship (and would no doubt lead to a rather excruciating car ride home). Bryan also suspected his personal safety might be threatened. However, he was comforted by the fact that if things got violent, he could always run back down the way they came, and Lisa would definitely be too scared to chase him.
So, Bryan decided to walk in the most promising direction, hoping to see the path materialize in front of them. Eventually, Lisa became concerned and started to suspect that Bryan may in fact have been lost, or may have even made up the story about an easier path existing. All Bryan kept saying was “don’t worry,” as he racked his brain to figure out an escape plan in case this route turned out to be a dead end. Meanwhile, Lisa feared that they wouldn’t find a way down, and started resigning herself to living out the rest of her days on the top of this hill.
Finally, just as it seemed that all hope was lost and everything was coming crashing down around Bryan, they crested a small hillock. And there it was. Bryan had never seen such a beautiful little dirt path in his entire life. He yelled out triumphantly to Lisa that they had found the way down. He ran ahead down the path, still worrying a bit that it would lead to some kind of a steep drop-off. Fortunately, it did not. It was the hoped-for gradual decline back to the parking lot. All was not lost. The relationship would last another day (but Lisa would never trust the words “don’t worry” from Bryan again).