Fliss Reunion (15th March 2009)
While outside with the guinea pigs, I noticed what a glorious day it was. The air was full of birdsong, the guinea pigs were quietly mumbling and squeaking to each other and the sun was shining brightly. It reminded me of past Summers spent with Fliss.
Several times since I last saw her, I’d considered resuming contact. Calling, e-mailing or just riding over there out of the blue. Every time I had got distracted by some immediate task…or just chickened out.
Today felt different. Or, perhaps more accurately, I felt different. I missed her and conditions were perfect to go over there.
Who knows, maybe I’d sweep her off her feet! Like what happens in cliché’d TV shows and movies.
After procrastinating about what to take with me and oiling my bicycle’s bearings, I set off.
It was a long way but I remembered the route as if July 2007 were only yesterday. I made sure to take the last mile nice and slow, to avoid turning up flustered and sweaty.
Turning onto her road and I felt the familiar butterflies in my tummy. Slowed right down and got my faculties together…this was no big deal, just visiting an old friend.
Stood my bike up on the pavement and walked to the door. Knocked 3 times, as I had always done. Scrappy was soon barking so I said “Hello Scrappy! Remember me?” He began clawing at the carpet so I chuckled and spoke to him some more.
I soon heard Fliss say “Bed!” to Scrappy, since they don’t open the door while he’s near it. Took a deep breath, exhaled slowly and the door swung open.
There was Fliss. Just how I remembered her.
“Oh my god,” she commented, “it’s you.” “Yeah, hi…erm…it’s great to see you again,” was my reply. (Note to self: plan ahead what you’re going to say afor situations like this!)
I apologised for turning up “totally out of the blue.” “No, it’s fine,” she assured me. We were beaming at each other, so I moved forwards and hugged her. She hugged me back.
We stored my bicycle in their hallway and Fliss headed upstairs. “You’ll never guess who it is!” Fliss excitedly announced to her mum (Sue). I went up and re-introduced myself. “Oh, hello Ben!” Sue exclaimed.
I had worried it might be weird to just show up like this. They both assured me I was very welcome. Apparently they had been watching Lost. Fliss mentioned that she’d been thinking about me recently, as had I about her. This prompted Sue to joke about us having a psychic link.
We talked about what we’d been up to since last time. Fliss went to sort out a few things so I showed Sue the photos I’d put on this blog. Fliss came in and out, commenting on a snowy hill we had ridden over while it wasn’t snowy.
Fliss thinks it’s funny how differently a familiar place looks when covered with snow. I agree.
Eventually Fliss asked me “Do you want to go to the park?” “Yeah, for sure” was my immediate reply. Sue apologised for monopolising me, saying she could talk all day given half a chance!
Some kids were playing in the cul-de-sac Fliss lives on. We chatted as we strolled to the local park, which is only a couple of minutes’ walk away.
We went straight to the swings and admired the beautiful day. It felt like a dream, except I was awake and it was really happening. I explained how the day had reminded me of the time we spent together. I assured her “I’m not being corny, that’s really what happened.” She smiled, looked a little shy, and said “That’s so sweet.”
She turned round to face me and we chatted about nerdish, geekdom and how it’s becoming more mainstream. She doesn’t watch much TV so I explained how shows like The Big Bang Theory and The IT Crowd confirm her impression.
After several minutes we slowed down and I pulled the swings nearer each other and gave her a little cuddle, re-affirming how glad I was to have taken the chance of dropping by.
The breeze was stiffening and the Sun was gradually lowering, making us rather chilly. So we headed back to the house.
We went to Fliss’s room. The bottom of my combat trousers had got incredibly oily during the long ride from Fleet to Farnborough. “You should get some of those metal clip things,” Fliss advised. I agreed: “Yeah, I think so to!”
I loafed on the floor and Fliss told me about her job at a stationer’s. “Oh, I can show you my Facebook.” she announced, fetching her laptop from under the bed.
We went through all the photos, with her setting the scene and giving me the backstory on each one. As well as introducing the various workmates and friends she has made.
The conversation started to wind down, so we updated our contact details for each other and we drew the reunion to and end. She accompanied me downstairs and we cuddled once more as I left. “Text me when you get home, so I know you’re safe,” she requested.
Elatedly and slowly I rode back to the main road. Partly to adjust to the cooling temperature but mostly to bask in the uplifting emotions coursing through me.
When I eventually got home, I duely texted Fliss. We’ve arranged to meet again on Sunday 22nd March 2009.