|The feline matchmaker also known as @BuddyBatcat|
Only eleven months until we can wheel out the Christmas box containing all the little ornaments and the Spiderman collector figure that may or may not get festive exposure this year.
I am blinking in disbelief as I type.
"Do you mean... do you mean I can now look forward to Christmas?", I asked Someone last night after the corpse of our beloved tree had been dutifully crammed into a garbage sack and a handful of needles lovingly placed into a baggie for posterity. With a dated note in red biro.
"Yes", he smiled back, eyes glowing with happiness and probably a remnant of the same emotion that had gotten to me earlier as I breathed in the smell of pine for one last time, feeling my face liquefy, still overwhelmed by everything.
This Christmas tree will always be the tree that brought us together, redefined Christmas and put an end lonesomeness for good. Disposing of the tree was such a delicate task that we put it off until we no longer could. If anything, it had become a health hazard to the cat who likes nothing more than noshing on needles then playing tummy accordion all over the apartment, creating gutsy masterpieces as he goes along.
Someone and I met right here, through this blog. The words in the archive led to many, many more words being sent back and forth across several time zones and to many nights spent sharing our innermost thoughts. In word format. Until I landed at Sea-Tac on Christmas Day, we didn't know what the other looked or sounded like - we chose to focus on getting to know what our respective hearts and minds were made of first.
Although attempting to deconstruct the magic may feel a little too clinical and cold, we are both aware that we made this miracle happen together by choosing to be ourselves without first attempting to sort through what might make us more acceptable to the other. Our personal PR was a complete absence of PR. Instead, we became an ongoing conversation.
From comments, tweets, messages, emails and chats, tenderness blossomed but my head hamster - that little critter who redefines the terms "worry wart" and "devil's advocate" - soon started doing headstands in its wheel.
"What if digital Hannah is enough for you? What if digital Hannah is all you want?", I was suddenly spouting at Someone in a fit of disbelief at all the kindness and understanding that he had been beaming my way over the internets.
This outburst of doubt marked our first and only spat to date, even though spat is not the accurate word. Instead I voiced my misgivings in a way that was unapologetically blunt. And immediately hated myself for being so churlish towards someone who most definitely didn't deserve it. Then again, the way we communicate has never included small talk or circumlocution.
With infinite tenderness, patience - and even respect for my determined attempt at self-sabotage - Someone tackled my worries one by one, pragmatically, intelligently, kindly. In early December and for the first time in over 20 years, he put the Christmas tree together in an attempt to cheer me up. Five days later, I plucked up the courage to float the idea of wings. Five days before Christmas, we booked the flight. A week and a half after I landed, we changed my return date to late March, going away for a while being something that the US government asks of me and that we must comply with, rather than a personal choice.
When I set up this blog, I chose to poke fun at the saddest, most painful part of my life, that of being lonely, isolated, unloved and not so young anymore. I doused the whole thing in self-deprecation and resolved to set fire to it, with words, watching my misery burn bright into the great big void of the internets. Which are actually filled with people with hopes, dreams and a yearning for connection very much like mine.
Why else would you be reading this?
Why else would I be writing it?
Why else would we blog?
And because of this little blog, there will always be the hallmark of Christmas magic stamped onto our daily life, and gratitude etched into every single sunrise and holiday season yet to come. The ability to look forward again with excitement rather than a deep sense of foreboding is a precious gift that we gave each other on Dec 25, 2011.
"You... you gave me a tree!", I sniffled, still overwhelmed by everything.
"And you... gave me you", he replied, wrapping his arms around me.