Wednesday, September 16

six years ago

september, 2003. I was on an airplane. and then it landed, early on a very surreal friday morning, in London. I was wearing that red and black and cream striped shirt that I still have in a drawer somewhere, and those perfect brown corduroys that I don't.

the first person I met, right off the train, was a somewhat frightening cab driver with a giant beard. and then the sweetest, dearest secretary bought me a soda and drove me and all my luggage to a little house at 15 Elm Street, where I tossed myself into bed and slept until 10 the next morning.

sunday, I missed church. but later I met Martin. and then Eve and Zipporah and David and Melissa and all these great people... I really should randomly move to foreign countries more often. you meet the greatest people that way. what on earth am I waiting for?

anyway: earlier this month, this september, this altogether not-quite-as-cool-as-the-one-in-2003 september, I was informed that one of my favourite people from that small slice of my life is celebrating a rather momentous birthday today. her family was putting together a book of memories for her, and asked me to contribute. the request threw me back into that slice of mashed up wonder and flaking dreams, that time when I was doing the one thing I knew I most wanted to be doing. this is what I wrote:
I was a perfect stranger to Clare. Just a silly American girl full of dreams and expectations about this beautiful and legendary country. In so many ways I was surprised--disappointed, almost--that not all of the things I'd thought I'd find in England were actually there for me. But Clare was--lovelier and more wonderful than anything I could have hoped for. She became a most dear friend that year. I never imagined that such a woman existed anywhere in the world, who did so much so willingly and flawlessly. Her example, her home, her family and her unfailing love will always be a part of my most precious memories.
is it too much to ask of my future some way of getting back to that place? maybe it is. you can't go back. six years is too steep. has it really taken me that long to accept that nothing else has come along to fill the spot of what I most want to be doing? I guess England won't resign itself to being just a checked box on my former list of things to do.

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