I didn't really believe it was going to happen, until the plane took off.
This was the third time I'd tried to get together with Trina. The first, I went to buy a ticket and found that my bank accounts had been raided. The second, family commitments prevented her from coming to me. The result? Although we've been the closest of friends for three years, we had never met - despite the fact that she was closer to me geographically than any of my other 'net friends, all of whom I've spent face-to-face real-hugs-not-virtual-ones time with.
I won free tickets. I could go. Of course, the plane left at an ungodly hour, so that dragging my best beloved out of bed was quite a task. I managed it though; I even managed to shove him out of the door only twenty minutes late.
We got checked in and then he told me "I have to go to the office, drop off some stuff, then I'll park the van at so-and-so's house. I'll be back I plenty of time."
I should probably mention that I'm fanatically punctual. So, as time stretched out, I was getting more than a little stressed. We were on the third boarding call when he got back, and I was pacing up and down like a caged cat. Even so, we made the plane with … oh seconds to spare.
It was an easy flight until the descent.
The captain's voice on the intercom "Cloud is at zero feet at Melbourne. If we can't land in two attempts, we'll go on to Sydney"
"Noooooooooooooooooooooo!" It was a silent scream, but it resounded around my skull.
The worry was unnecessary. We landed, perfectly, first time. We were there.
As we came out of customs, a dark haired figure came towards us. Recognition was not a problem.
Often, when you get together with people from the 'net, for the first time, there is a babble of conversation. That didn't really happen. There was no need for it. This was my friend, and we already knew each other. We were comfortable, and easy in each other's company.
If anyone was to ask how we spent the week, it would probably sound incredibly boring. Apart from lunch with some friends and a trip to feed parrots - it's great fun to have "wild" birds perched on one's arms and eating from one's hands - we basically did nothing. We read, we shopped, I was Trina's daughter's "show and tell" in her infant class. I tickled children, and sang songs with them.
But it was wonderful. Because I work from home, I spend a lot of time alone. Instead, I was with someone, all day, but there was no pressure in the presence. We could talk, if we chose, but if we chose quiet, that was fine. There was no strain, no tension in the silence. No gaping feeling that we had nothing to say, just companionship.
I had, quite simply, a marvellous time. I think Trina did too. We hugged, when I left, several times.
It took three years to make this first trip. The next one won't take so long.