Up at dawn’s first crack to get to the airport and pick up Withering. My friend from way back in the day when we both thought we’d be rich and famous, haven’t seen her in at least 20 years.
I lost count of the number of people who said, ” 20 years! what if you don’t get on?”
You know it never crossed my mind, with some people you just know, you just know that you are going to be able to pick up right where you left off. Occasionally when you find someone and realise you are not so keen anymore, if you trawl your memory, you usually find that actually, you didn’t get on all that well back them either and there was probably a very good reason for not having been in touch for 20 years.
For Withering and I, we weren’t in touch for years just because life got in the way, we went in different directions and ended up oceans apart.
So now here she is, and twice as wonderful as I remembered her to be.
The night before I asked the chicklets if anyone wanted to come with me out to the airport but all declined my gracious offer. Doris wanted to revise for her exams next week, ( code for sitting around in her PJs watching Bones), Sunshine also claimed urgent exam revision, ( code for extended skype time with Mum out of the house) the boys claimed a need for fresh air and sport and said they would be playing out at the local baseball ground, ( code for , turning the house upside down to find the now hidden DSs).
So it was just me, myself and I. Then 5 minutes before I had to leave, up got Kev. I gave him breakfast and suddenly he claimed he wanted to come too. So it was a mad dash to get him to get dressed and brush his teeth and we were out the door.
We drove to the station and parked, from there it was a train, to a bus, then the limo bus out to the airport.
Being as it is Japan, things are all terribly well organised and I have no doubt that Withering could have got herself on the limo bus to the station where I could have picked her up but on my January trip to the US I learned something. I learned, being pick-up after a 14 hour flight is fabulous, it’s wonderful, I would pay good money for it.
When I was going to Washington, my friend’s sister, whom I had never met, who had freely offered her home and family to me for the duration, came out to get me from Dulles Airport. we arranged to meet in a coffee shop there.
I used to love the thrill of landing in a new country alone, and finding my way to my train/bus/taxi,
finding a hotel/guesthouse, the thrill being not just in the doing, but in the being able to do.
I’m over that now. I don’t care for the thrill. I want to be met.
When Domi walked into that coffee shop in Dulles to meet me, giving me a big hug, I could have cried.
I could let go of my state of high alert, thinking about my bag/money/passport, where I had to go, what I had to look out for, someone else was steering the ship. Priceless. Thanks for that Domi, I love you.
I digress, we headed off, me and Kev, got to the station only to find the ticket office closed until 3 minutes before the bus leaves. Can we buy a ticket at the bus? I do not know? we waited in front of the ticket window, I can buy tickets but there is no guarantee we can get on the bus because we don’t have a reservation, therein lies the key to Japan’s efficiency, other people in general are more organised than me, they book in advance!
Well, long story short, we get on the bus along with 12 million old aged pensioners who picked THIS weekend to go to Guam.
Kev reads his book. My bag weighs a ton, because I thought I would be making the trip alone, so I had three books, a notebook, several ‘favourite’ pens and my ipod, lest I should waste one moment of this solitary time. Then find I am too excited to concentrate.
Luckily there was a loo on the bus, so I tried that out, just because I have never used a bus loo before. It looked like an aeroplane loo but much smaller. I think this is not so much a space saving
measure as a safety one. Buses move about more than aeroplanes. So when you sit down the walls are actually holding you on as the bus lurches around corners, stops at red lights and narrowly avoids grannies on scooters.
With only half an hour left, Kev finishes his books and claims boredom, never a good thing on a bus trip with him, so I plugged him into my ipod and flicked it onto a guided meditation. I could see he was taking it seriously, cos he moved both his hands to his heart chakra to ‘ feel the space within and without’. It finished as we arrived and he claimed he hadn’t liked it, it had made him ‘sleepy’.
So we came, we met, we picked up the long lost friend and launched into a conversation that is ongoing but it having a break for sleep.
So here’s to friends, I love friends visiting, love catching up with people.
Note to readers I may visit in the future, I love being picked up at the airport.