Departing as friends

by tamarjacobson

As I bid my blogger friends farewell on the first night that I arrived in London before the walk, I was hoping they would write about our meeting while I was away up in Northern England. It was difficult for me not to be able to blog about it immediately afterwards. So many thoughts and feelings were running through my brain, and I was forced to put them aside to focus on traveling through Kings Cross Station up to Newcastle, meeting and greeting the walkers, including my sister whom I had not seen for a couple of years. Naturally, I wrote about some of my impressions and emotions in my journal, but, still, I wanted to blog about it. And so, I was hoping that the other bloggers would describe their impressions and feelings so that the moments would not be lost as time moved on as it does in the blogging world like a snap of one’s typing fingers.

Just before I fell dead asleep on June 23, the first night in London, I wrote a few lines in my journal:

Delightful simple Penn Club – stoic, but ample room – coffee and tea-maker – Oh the British tea is so good! Why do I drink tea in America?

Jean picked me up in the afternoon – just like her picture on the blog. We have a coffee in Russell Square garden cafe, sun shining with clouds threatening rain – so beautiful.

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And then a bus ride to meet Natalie … her home full of her wonderful art! Tea and cookies, wine and humus …

Doorwaynathouse [Natalie’s front door]

Andy arrives …

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… and then we talk – really talk – about blogging – our secret language. A few photos and then down to the pub.

And then the photos [really] begin – flashes and flashes.

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I am laughing with all my heart

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– feel as if I am with a kind of family all my own – become so sad to leave them. I want to be near them always – around the corner, meeting for coffee every now and then – like people I’ve known even before all my life.

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Jean takes me back to The Penn Club, bus ride and then walks me around and around. I think she might have lost the way, gently, sweetly under her umbrella as the rain starts to fall. We come up to my little room and, oh my goodness, what a surprise – she has my book! Has brought it for me to sign! I am ecstatic, honored, touched, grateful, humbled.

[All the photographs posted here were taken by Jean, Andy and Natalie]

Now, as I sit at home, in my little study in Chestnut Hill, rain falling gently on the lush green woods behind my window, cardinals pipping and Ada chirping back at them, I think back to more than a week ago, about our bloggers’ meeting.

Jean wrote in her post the next day:

So here we are in a pub dining-room in North London, close to Natalie’s welcoming, art-filled house where we gathered earlier, with too much to say, and nothing quite adequate. "You remember what you wrote 6 months ago about that? It made me cry and I thought about it for weeks." would be kind-of embarrassing. And so would staring longer than is quite polite at a smile that is wider and wryer than in their photographs …

Andy wrote in his blog a few days later:

We met as bloggers; we departed as friends … it’s been reported on any number of occasions how it is that, having first met on the pages of a blog where secrets may be shared which might never be expressed in everyday conversation, relationships get a kick-start. Much of that getting-to-know-you preamble can be dispensed with; it’s already happened. Not only the simple sharing of facts and opinions; when you lay open aspects of your heart and soul and find them accepted, a mutual trust can develop; a deep respect and caring which is all too rare in the everyday world of hurried superficial relationships

There is no doubt in my mind that the type of blogs we have in common share our feelings and personal thoughts. Therefore, a level of intimacy was already present from the moment we entered each other’s physical space. What was also present, perhaps, was a curiosity about the reality versus the virtual other and, of course, what we all sound like. I love that I can hear their voices in my mind as I read their words now. For me, there was not one iota, not one instance of disappointment in any expectations I might have had, if I had any at all.

Just a longing to spend more time with each, in person, to bear witness to their inner and outer lives, as well as sharing mine with them. To be able to look into their eyes, hear their voice, and touch each other every now and then. For our reality hugs were as warm and friendly as any of the virtual hugs we might have sent out to one another through our words or symbols over the years: {{{}}}.

Indeed, these past two and a half years of blogging, have buoyed me up and supported my introspection, validated my life experiences, and have encouraged my growth and development as a writer.

And all thanks to people like Natalie, Andy and Jean – like-minded, like-souled.