I was almost hauled off by Homeland Security guards when I saw my friend and her husband walking towards me on the airport ramp. I said "I've been waiting 15 years for this hug..." excitedly as I passed them by a few feet They seemed to relax then as we enjoyed a long-awaited embrace and long-overdue introductions.
Strange as it may seem, Linda and I first met on a CompuServe forum back in the days when a 5200 BAUD rate modem was considered screaming fast. We were both cancer survivors, giving others moral support as they waged their battles with the dragon. It was a joyous task because we were enjoying every minute of our survival and encouraging others to count every second of life as a triumph.
We enjoyed the tea in ancient China cups that were prized by my mother and reserved for the most special of occasions.
Over the years we exchanged many stories and pictures of family and friends, adventures and mis-haps. Linda finished her education and opened her practice, I downsized my career step by step and "retired" to work at home as I please. Our children finished college, married and gave birth to the miraculous children we dote on these days.
A few years ago we connected by phone for a brief chat and were thrilled to be able to hear each others' voices. Last New Years Eve we managed to connect via Skype for our first "live" conversation face-to-face. Then in January, Linda announced she was coming to America to visit her husband's family, their friends and would like to visit me in Florida for a week before heading to the Northwest part of the USA.
It was a long six months and I counted every day, thinking of our meeting for the first time. Let me tell you straight out, there were no surprises. She and her husband were as I had pictured them over the years except amplified. Her beauty and grace, style and sensitivity were so much more than I realized. Our conversations went on without background information as if we had seen each other only the week before. It was glorious to finally be with my dear friend.