visitors, part 2

Lisa is coming.

Like, for real. Like she has plane tickets and booked apartments and everything.

If you don’t know who Lisa is, she’s my absolute biggest fan. She’s read damned near everything I’ve ever written; that’s how we met actually. I was 24, working at a coffee shop in San Francisco, and was in the middle of an, *ahem*, Blog War that I was mediating on my old blog between a group of Canadian high schoolers.

I don’t exactly know how it happened, but in those years in SF, between the day that we talked about my dumb Blog War exploits and the day I left, we became best friends. And we still are.

It’s weird, because without those Canadian high schoolers, I may not even know Lisa today. I’m still friends with one of them, we met in person in Seattle a bunch of years ago. He’s married now, and has a baby. He works in an obscure and fascinating niche of neuroscience that I adore reading his posts about.

But anyway.

I last saw Lisa in Kyoto, near the tail end of my birthday trip, when I was on my way back to Tokyo, and she to Osaka to fly back to SF. 

And soon I will meet her in Venice.

But it’s weird, right? Like, I feel like I manifested this. I wrote something down just four weeks ago about being sick and tired of having to always be the one to fly around everywhere to meet people. And within a couple of weeks of me writing that down, Rajiv flew to meet me in Baghdad and Rianne showed up in Istanabul.

But like. Is this really happening now? Or have I just finally curated a circle of friends who actually show up?

The last time I was in Venice, literally more than 21 fucking years ago, I found myself following the throng of tourists through the narrow streets that lead to Piazza San Marco. And on the way there, tired of the crowds, I dipped into an empty Jazz bar.

I have no other plans in Venice than to try and find that bar.

Because once inside, the barkeep served me an enormous beer in a hexagonal glass, something unlike anything I had ever tasted. He told me it was from Belgium, but I remember having a hard time pronouncing the name.

The following year I found myself in Belgium for the first time. In Brugge, specifically, and on one afternoon I dipped into a grocery store to find that beer. Find it I did, and I bought a six-pack, and I carried that six-pack to Paris and Barcelona and Madrid, and finally home to Seattle in my un-checked backpack.

That was six months before 9/11.

Anyway, I got that six-pack all the way back to the states. And a few days later, we cracked them open at Sunday dinner. My brother-in-law swore up and down he had had it before, that maybe they sold that beer, draft, at a bar on Aurora. 

And no, I don’t really need to tell the rest of that story right now, except to say that: isn’t it just weird how shit shakes out? Because if it wasn’t for that weird little jazz bar in Venice, I may not have gotten the other text I got a week ago, because I probably wouldn’t even know him.

“Let’s meet somewhere warm in December,” he said. And the irony here is that this was from none other than Ben “Buenos Aires” Harrison. And yeah, in the 10 days since he sent that text and now it looks like the dates will almost assuredly change. But here’s the thing.

This feels nothing like the Argentina promise from 10 years ago that he never fulfilled. 

This feels different. Like, I think it’s going to happen this time.

I have no idea what’s changed in the four weeks since I wrote that piece and now, but everything feels different. 

And I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I’m ever going to go home.

Because why should I if everyone comes to me?


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