I flew away from Washington and the plane dipped low over the big Washington phallus, and I thought ‘hey look it’s that thing from the disaster movies’. I then followed the line of sight up a long green lawn and thought ‘oh hello! It’s the Whitehouse. It’s Obama’s place!’
I hadn’t really realised that I’d be transferring through Washington airport, so I felt this was a surprise bit of touristing. It seemed the perfect amount. I sat back in my chair with complete relief, just so happy that I was finally out of airport hell. I texted my friend Michelle, who was picking me up from Dayton with the details of the flight I’d managed to wrangle. ‘See you soon!’ I wrote.
And then I realised that I really would see her soon. After over ten years of being friends, I would actually see her for the first time.
‘I can’t believe I’m actually going to see you soon!’ I wrote, but it wasn’t true. I could believe it, I could believe it 100%, it felt like I’ve been expecting to do this forever.
I’ve written about it elsewhere, but Michelle popped up on my AOL messenger to say hello because I’d written on my profile that I like elves and reading. A friendship was born. I like to imply that she immediately hit me with the hard-sell to play Aelyria, like she was out there trawling shitty chat services like a charismatic army recruiter, but I think it happened after we’d chatted for a while. In vampire terminology, she is my Aelyrian sire. She’s the reason for all of… this.
At Dayton, OHIO, I walked on shit-brown small airport carpet and past incomprehensible ads for local businesses and out into the greeting area, and there she was, and I didn’t think ‘AHA! So that’s HER!’ I just thought ‘hey looks it’s Michelle’. I hugged her so hard that her sunglasses fell off, and that’s when I decided to believe her many claims that she is a child sized adult.
We did some requisite boggling, I did some bitching about cabs that don’t turn up and airports and then we walked to the car and by that point we were just chatting, chatting in that way that old friends do where nobody quite finishes exactly what they’re saying because so many tangents spin off. I wish I could say it was weird, or strange but I kept having to remind myself that this wasn’t super normal and we haven’t ever driven through Ohio together/ ever met before. Every time I did remind myself, it felt special though, like something that I’d been waiting for for a long time, a decade long pent up breath that I had no idea I was holding.
We drove on the long freeway chatting and chatting and saw a giant statue of Jesus outside a mega church and I basically screamed because it was so big and so weird, and Michelle practically drove off the side of the road so we could find a way back to it and take photos. She told me about another giant jesus statue near where she grew up which had been commonly nicknamed ‘butter Jesus’ because it’s yellow and our saviour looks soft and melty.