|Happiness hides in the oddest places...|
For almost three years on the island, a Seattle magnet marked the gateway to lunch, breakfast and dinner and "I hear the blues a-calling tossed salad and scrambled eggs" was what I generally hummed when in the kitchen.
Until Christmas Day however, I had never been to Seattle. In fact, it wasn't until early December that I realized it wasn't a landlocked city like I previously thought – having placed it somewhere in Idaho for 36 years – and began wondering about the city and those who lived there, more particularly one man and his cat.
The wondering was mutual in so far as the man wondered about me, too, while the cat served as perfect excuse for all matters of gushing digital cuteness between two people who only knew each other through words. A few weeks, one tree and one cat in a Santa hat later, I was boarding a big flying machine to go meet the man in Seattle. By that time, neither of us had much of a clue about what the other one looked or sounded like – we had deliberately chosen not to talk on the phone or exchange pictures.
More curiously perhaps, this approach was the result of a tacit understanding between us rather than something we debated at length – we met through words, we grew fond of each other through words and we built a relationship through words. There were no accents or appearances to distract us from connecting and therefore no way for honesty to get sidetracked – I never once felt the need to hide behind three inches of make-up and a low-cut top in order to get his interest and he never once had to pretend I was cute rather than tarty.
Right from the get go, we let our hearts do the talking – a lot of talking – because we found we had a lot to share. Both a little reclusive with a deep-seated aversion to small talk, we'd find ourselves tap tap tapping the night away, increasingly reluctant to step away from the glowy box, much to the dismay of the cat whose ample cuddle quota suddenly dwindled to almost zero.
Online, there was never any awkwardness between us. Offline, there never is any awkwardness between us either. Landing in Seattle after a detour via Vancouver and the best part of an entire day in the air and airports, I found the man waiting for me by the luggage carousel, something I wasn't prepared for as luggage reclaim is a passenger-only zone where I come from. That meant a skew-whiff pony tail, no lipstick and a dreamy lost traveller face rather than the polished first impression I was aiming for.
"Er, do I know you?" was as articulate as I managed to be when caught unawares before mumbling something about finding a bathroom because being teleported to the spot where the object of my affection stood called for some urgent freaking out behind a cubicle door.
Excitement took over and I forgot all about the bathroom. When my suitcase didn't turn up, I also forgot about the lack of clean undies and proudly held the man's hand while filing a claim form with a stunned customer service agent who couldn't fathom why there were two grinning happy people standing in front of her rather than the usual screaming passengers threatening all matters of legal unpleasantness.
Even though the man has a washer, I spent several blissful days wearing PJs with a flap as we holed up in the apartment with a year's supply of imported candy, a jumbo jar of nuts, some konpeito, a cat overjoyed by the arrival of a new human climbing frame/petting machine and a combined 77 years worth of life to catch up on.
As my happiness levels soar and I relax into normality, I somehow find I am having a hard time keeping awake so I yawn my way through the day, walk around the grocery store in a blissful snoozy daze and have to caffeinate frequently to keep the brain functioning while ever-shrinking deadlines loom.
Most days, it feels like I have turned into the cat while my little head hamster struggles to process the magic that four hands built.
Happiness is a habit I haven't acquired yet but we – the man and I - are working on it.