Three years ago we got off planes from long haul flights, if long means over seven hours, and waited around in strange arrival lounges. Feeling nervous. Three years ago we sat on suitcases and tested out whether our cellular telephones, that we still called mobile phones worked in foreign countries. We rushed between terminals with friends, sleepy from nights spent tidying up our rooms and wore sunglasses, and shifted our feet anxiously when we spoke. Three years ago we took Polaroid’s that spelt out our names to use as arrival signs, but we were late, and in the wrong place, so we just had to explain it later. We took new Polaroid’s to compensate.
Three years ago we sat three in the back of a Yellow cab that stopped on the way into town to get gas. Which was the first and only time this had ever happened to us. Three years ago we asked if this was normal, while watching the Indian gentleman fill the tank and wonder off to pay. We drove past famous landmarks we knew from videos back home, and we laughed at the strange road signs and the constant stream of traffic ahead of us.
Later when we had stumbled out of cabs, wearing white t-shirts and blue jeans and jetlag, we went inside to a building we’d never been in together, and left our belongings on the futon while poking our noses in places they did not- yet- belong. We talked about the bong on the coffee table, and how it was none of ours. Hurriedly, and walking closer together than was normal for most people, we went to a restaurant that had a strange cow theme. There were pictures of cows on the wall, and in the bathroom, and when we ordered food we ordered pancakes with bacon because it only seemed appropriate. Our legs were starting to ache, and when one of us went to the bathroom, the others did something brand new, that had never been done before, probably by anyone, anywhere ever. Three years ago all our awkwardness was replaced with a feeling of calm, and suddenly we knew what we were doing. At least in regards to each other, in the restaurant with the cows and the maple syrup and the rude waiter, who would later get an elaborate forearm tattoo, that would completely change how were thought of him, although he was still – always- rude.
Three years ago we paid our bill with money from a board game that the man at the airport on the other side of the long haul flight had given us, and went back to the house. We went through our bags for a minute, and sat around in the cool, and talked about what we might do next. We were excited because the city was brand new, the tags were still on our necks, and we’d held hands, a strangely normal moment, on the way back from the restaurant.
Our throats hurt, and we had no idea really why. But we thought about the day outside, and the sun in September and the heavy pockets, and we took the train into the city, making note of things we’d seen before, but only in pictures. We met more people and took them with us to a movie based on a book we loved, but didn’t, but had never heard of, but didn’t care about, and while hating it from the very start promptly fell asleep about half way through.
For the first time in the history of everything we left a movie before the end, and went back outside. We left some of us to our own devices, to make plans to meet up later, and went to meet others somewhere else.
Three years ago, back at the same apartment our clothes were, we lay around, and listened to people getting home from work, and talked about how excited we were and laughed nervously. We met other people, and were polite. We hoped. Later we went out to see a band play in a store, in a part of town we’d never been to before, because we’d only ever been into town once before, and that was earlier today, and we watched the band we’d never heard before in the store we’d never been to, and drank beer, and left early, and said goodbye, and walked together up town, along the edges, next to the free way and the water, and it took forever, and neither of us remember how it was we got home. But our throats hurt, and our eyes were sore, and the bed we lay in was the most comfortable a bed had ever been. And three years ago in the morning there would be another breakfast, and we would buy new things, and we would awkwardly dance, and we would wonder to both ourselves and to anyone else who would listen on the telephone: did we really make this happen?