Nikki and I became inseparable. I never wanted to be without her. Half-jokingly, I started calling her my security blanket. In October, I took my first Rolling Stone assignment since the accident — a trip to the Riviera Maya with Tony Hawk. Nikki came with me. After my assignment was complete, we made our way to Tulum, where we borrowed some bicycles to ride beneath the rainforest canopy. Still trying to gain control of my right arm, I crashed into a parked car. Luckily, I dusted off a few scratches and we could laugh this one off.
On Halloween, Nikki and I flew to London. I had been invited by Royal Enfield for the launch of their new twin-engine motorcycles. We arrived a few days early to visit London and Paris. We visited Jim Morrison’s grave at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. I brought a bottle of wine to share with Jim, spilling a bit onto his grave before we dusted the bottle in his honor. When the guards came around to clear the cemetery for the night, Nikki and I hid in a mausoleum built in the 1800s. It was spooky and cobwebbed, but didn’t stop us from having sex inside the creepy enclosure. We giggled like kids in high school. We thought it was spontaneous and hysterical — until we ended up locked inside the cemetery for hours in the dark before finding a security guard to let us out.
For the remainder of the year, Nikki and I hosted holiday parties at my house — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. After my near-fatal experience in the Alps, it became even more important to be surrounded by family as much as possible. On New Year’s Day, I fired up my Harley-Davidson Road King to take my first ride since my crash. Nikki insisted on going with me, so she suited up, hopped on the back, and we went for a ride through Silverado Canyon.
In February, we found out that Nikki was pregnant. I couldn’t have been more excited — elated actually. Everything happened very quickly, but in a perfect way. We started looking for a new place to live, to move in together and start planning for our family. We eventually found a beautiful Montauk–style home in Newport Beach, California. We gave our landlords notice and packed up our respective homes, making way for our new beach-city lifestyle.
In May, Nikki and I visited the Big Island of Hawaii, staying in Hapuna on the Kohala Coast. One afternoon, we hiked down the Waipio Valley to the black sand beaches. I set up a couple of cameras, telling Nikki that we were going to take a selfie in the river that flowed into the Central Pacific Ocean. I set the camera timers and walked to Nikki in the shallow riverbed, where I took a knee, pulled a ring out of my pocket and proposed to her. I had found my soul mate and after a whirlwind of traveling, sharing, loving and good living, I was certain it was for keeps.
We married on July 15 in front of family and friends who had embraced our story and been supportive throughout my accident. Stone was my best man. Sven flew in from Sweden. Thomas, Gabi and the boys joined us from Switzerland. And Rodney Mullen became an ordained minister and delivered a wondrous and compelling wedding ceremony. Smiling at Rodney, I had a quick epiphany that my previous ketamine-infused plot to escape the Kantonsspital hospital may not have turned as well as things had. Then I steered my attention down the aisle. Standing proud and enchanted in front of my friends and family, I watched my beautiful Nikki, adorned in silk and lace like a fairy tale princess, walk down the aisle to Ben Harper’s “Forever”. Minutes later, we sealed our union with a kiss. I honestly thought that at this point in my life, I’d never find someone I loved enough to marry, much less have children with, but that evening, we returned home as Mr. and Mrs. Hendrikx, looking forward to a new adventure ahead.