Randokitty (Julia Heemstra) submission for TetonAT

When Steve Romeo finally asked me on out (via email) I rejoiced so loudly, I feared I would break the windows in the rickety wooden cabin I lived in. It had only taken 15 months to get to this. The invitation was to be his “female companion” at a friend’s wedding with whom he had skied the Grand Teton a year before. Their ski tracks, beautiful and symmetrical, down the Ford Couloir, had made the front page of the paper. In the end our “first date” was preceded by a “second date” – an idea Steve pitched to me over lunch a few days before the wedding: “How about we run (free solo) the Grand before the wedding?”

Three days later, sunburned and dehydrated, we sat together on pretty, white wooden chairs, having left the summit of the Grand less than five hours before. I was in love.

What followed were four of the best, most adventurous years of my life. Steve and I skied, camped and climbed in some of most rugged, remote and spectacular terrain in the West. I had finally found “my person” whose desire to get outside exceeded even my own.

Steve’s passing has left a void in my life that defies articulation. While I long for our times in the mountains, what I miss just as much about him is not seeing him in his “morning fleece”, in his glasses, drinking a latte first thing in the morning. Or, running down the stairs of the condo saying “Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi!” when I came home after a long day. I was the fortunate one – Randokitty – who was allowed to penetrate into his inner realm, to know Steve so well that I could predict his thoughts and reactions. For that I will be forever grateful.