Greetings from Reykjavik

by Zuke

Disclaimers: Copyright: I own the characters and situation, so please don't copy them. Feel free to share this story, but keep my name on it, please!

Love/Sex: This is the story of two girls in love, but sex is only mentioned briefly in this particular story :=(

Language: I do believe a few dirty words are thrown around indiscriminately.

Sequel Alert: This story is a sequel to "Dear Booger". If you haven't read that story, why not? Actually, you can read this one without reading that one first, but it might give you a little background…oh, just read them both, for god's sake!

Monday, June 9

Dear Gavin,

I have a very important question to ask you and I want your complete and honest answer. I don't want evasiveness or platitudes or pats on the head. OK? Do you promise? Good. Here goes:

Do you think I'm sane?

I know you're my best friend, and you don't want to hurt my feelings. But you're also my financial advisor and I'm sure it would result in great monetary gain to you if you could have me declared mentally incapacitated. So I'm thinking I'll get a fair and balanced perspective from you.

Personally, I always thought I was sane. Neurotic, of course, but that doesn't count. Unresolved issues with my mother, the Catholic Church, and a handful of ex-girlfriends? Check. But have I ever shown evidence of complete and utter insanity? Have you ever been tempted to put me in one of those white jackets with extra-long sleeves that buckle in the back? (And I'm not talking about your sexual fantasies.)

Gavin, you've got to help me!

I'm going to tell you the whole story, then I'm going to post this letter and when I return to civilization (if I do), you have to contact me right away and tell me whether I need to check myself into one of those private sanatoriums in the Swiss Alps.

I'm writing this letter from an airport lounge in Reykjavik (population 108,000, northern most capital in the world, word means "smoky bay"). I know all of these interesting facts because I read the "Welcome to Reykjavik" brochure, which was handed to all of us when we landed. You may wonder why I'm in Iceland - especially considering that I was on my way to a business meeting with you in Paris. Well, be patient, my friend, because I really need to start at the beginning for any of this to make sense. If it ever will make sense, which segues neatly back to the insanity question.

So, where do I begin? I guess I'll start in Hawaii. If I started in childhood, I'd be writing for a very long time. So, Hawaii it is.

As you know, I went to the islands on vacation - planning on meeting up with Cheryl. Which never happened. You might have guessed that when I called and asked you to make sure her presence was completely erased from every part of my existence. (Thanks, by the way.)

So, yes, another of my relationships ended in tears. And drunkenness. And vomit, I'm ashamed to say. But you were thousands of miles away this time. I missed hearing you say "I told you so" while you wiped my tears. (You probably would have drawn the line at cleaning up my vomit, though.)

But guess what? There was someone else to step in and do the dirty work. Her name is Jaz (short for Jasmine) Pierce. And she's extraordinary. When I say "extraordinary", I mean extra-ordinary. As in not ordinary at all. She's beautiful and childlike and hilarious and neurotic and unselfconscious and has a twin brother named Booger (although I think his real name is Brian).

I fell in love with Jaz and spent five of the most bizarre, wonderful, heartbreaking, awe-inspiring days of my life.

Do you notice all of the contradictions in the last two paragraphs? It's just so difficult to describe Jaz and the last few days I've spent with her. I know it's not like anything I've ever experienced. I mean, I fall in love with ordinary people who have ordinary jobs, ordinary intellects, and ordinary past times. Their ordinariness is only surpassed by my own.

I can't even begin to explain why I fell in love with Jaz. Was it because she was new and exciting? Shit, if that's all I wanted, I could have tried a guy. Now that would have been different!

But it wasn't just her quirkiness that I fell in love with. She is incredibly loving and passionate and steady as well - in between her neurotic bursts. Her emotions are like a yin yang kind of thing - like the in and out of breathing. And that rhythm matched mine. We walked in step. Not just walked - we waltzed, never missing a beat. Dipping and gliding together. It was beautiful.

God, listen to me! Can you even believe this is me?

OK, I have to admit that things didn't exactly run smoothly in those five days. We sort of split up and got back together. Are warning bells going off? I'm sure you're preparing your "I told you so" speech right about now. It's still not what you think. It was more my fault than hers. Well, maybe both our fault. It was the yang side of the yin. The out part of the breathing. Our neurotic sides saying "shit" at the same time. Luckily, we both woke up to reality before it was too late.

And then I declared my undying love for her and she did the same and I invited her to Paris for two weeks.

I thought everything was fine. I really thought that I could just stand by and observe Jaz's odd behavior and strange outlook on life. But it's contagious! And now I'm beginning to wonder if I'm experiencing a contact high, or if I've been crazy all along.

I just read back everything that I've written so far and I realize that I'm making absolutely no sense. So I'm going to present this in a logical manner. You know how anal I am (and no, that doesn't count as a strike against my sanity; it's a positive trait, and you know it). I will present to you six pieces of evidence. I'll leave them for you to judge. You've always been fair (except when you cheat at Monopoly), and I totally trust your opinion. So, read on my friend.

Exhibit #1:

This first story takes place just as we were taxiing toward the runway. I was sipping a very nice glass of Chardonnay (with a hint of passion fruit and butterscotch and an excellent finish) and Jaz was eating a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. Both items were normal perks of flying First Class, but Jaz acted as if she'd been given a diamond ring. She was in the middle of telling me how wonderful her cookie was when she grabbed onto my arm, causing me to spill a few drops of the Chardonnay onto my linen pants. I didn't say anything about the spilled wine (let's call that exhibit #1a). I looked over and saw that her eyes were very wide and her skin was very pale. She has very blue eyes. Just like those sapphire earrings we saw in Tiffany's a few months ago. I have to say, her eyes looked really beautiful against her suddenly white skin.

"Isn't it amazing how everything takes on new meaning when you're facing death?" Her question was pretty typical - so far out of left field I think one of the people in the bleachers must have thrown it.

"What are you talking about? We're on a plane going to Paris. How does this translate into facing death?" I do try my hardest to keep up with her.

"Ix-nay on the lane-pay," she replied. The pig Latin was a dead giveaway that she was freaked out. That and the way she dug her fingernails into my arm.

"You aren't afraid of flying, are you?" I asked, pretty sure I'd figured out her current strange behavior.

"Not exactly," she replied, despite the definite yes/no quality of the question.

"What does 'not exactly' mean?"

"In my case, it means 'yes'."

I patted her hand. It was meant to be reassuring. It was also meant as a signal to loosen her grip. Unfortunately, she didn't look any more assured and squeezed tighter. So I sighed and said, "Jaz, do you realize how many planes take off every day with absolutely no problems?"

"A lot?"

"Hundreds of thousands," I replied, having really no idea.

"That's a lot," she agreed.

"Do you realize you're probably a million times more likely to die in a car accident?" I added.

"A million?" She looked dubious. I admit that number was a little harder to swallow.

"Something like that." (Remind me to look up the number later. I'll put it in my PDA for future reference.)

"OK," Jaz said, still with a panicked glint to her eye. "Thanks for the factoids. Now can I tell you about how everything takes on new meaning when you're facing what you foolishly perceive as death?"

"Um…sure, why don't you tell me?" When Jaz starts on something, it's really best to let her finish.

"Well, I had a dream last night that I ate asparagus for dinner."

"Uh huh."

"But I hate asparagus."

"Uh huh."

"Weird, don't you think?"

"Uh huh."

(If you can think of a better way to respond to the asparagus dream, please feel free to share.)

"And I heard a talk show last night about religion and the big bang," Jaz continued, foolishly assuming that I had absorbed her point about asparagus. "The host said, 'Who created the big bang? Who created the constituents of the big bang? What was there before that? Who created that?' Makes you think, huh?"

"Yeah, makes you think." Well, it did. It made me think that I'd fallen in love with a madwoman.

"And maybe I was meant to think about that right before my death."

I wondered if it was possible to turn someone sane. I contemplated a sort of "scared straight" scenario in reverse. I put on my best "talking to a demented person" voice and said, "But Jaz, what happens when you land and walk off the plane safe and sound? Don't you feel a little bit silly?"

"No," she replied with a smile, "because I might still get killed on the drive home. You know you're a million times more likely to die in a car accident than die in a plane crash."

I was trying to figure out if she was teasing when the plane started accelerating down the runway and Jaz gripped my arm even tighter. My fingers were going numb. Jaz might survive the flight to Paris, but I'd have gangrene and lose my right arm.

She was staring out the window as the airport buildings whizzed by at a more and more rapid pace. Just as we lifted off, and that sick, stomach dropping feeling hit, she cried out, "Sing!"

"Sing?" I cried back, wishing I'd sat by the window instead of Jaz. Why the hell did God make me right-handed? If my left arm was amputated, I could hide it behind my coat, which I'd drape casually over my shoulder.

"Sing!" Jaz cried out again.

"Sing what?" Would they amputate at the elbow or the shoulder? What if I didn't end up with enough shoulder area to casually drape a coat over?

"Something up-beat and positive!" Jaz explained through gritted teeth.

"How about When You Walk Through A Storm?"

"Too depressing."

"Whistle A Happy Tune?"

"No show tunes."

The plane banked and hit the cloud cover, which caused it to shake and shudder. I couldn't believe it was possible, but Jaz paled even further. She looked like Casper the Friendly Ghost with a black wig. Her eyes were wide and imploring.

And so I sang. I have no idea where the song came from. If you'd asked me if I knew the words before I started singing, I would have said no. But they just spilled out of me.

"Who can turn the world on with her smile?

Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Well it's you girl, and you should know it

With each glance and every little movement you show it.

Love is all around

Don't need to waste it

You can have the town

Why don't you take it?

You're gonna make it after all"

Jaz's smile was brighter than the sun, which blazed through her window as we broke through the clouds. She joined me as we repeated the chorus.

"Love is all around

Don't need to waste it

You can have the town

Why don't you take it?

You're gonna make it after all."

I sang, Gavin.

I sang the Mary Tyler Moore theme song, Gavin.

I sang the Mary Tyler Moore theme song in the first class section of an airplane on the way to Paris, Gavin.

Take a moment to let that sink in.


Exhibit #2:

Once we reached cruising altitude, Jaz became much calmer. She let go of my arm, which was certainly a step in the right direction. As soon as I heard the swish of polyester pants, I flagged down a flight attendant and ordered a glass of wine for myself and milk and another cookie for Jaz. I was determined to keep her hands occupied throughout the rest of the flight. I would never have enough time in my schedule to learn how to use a prosthetic.

We chatted for a while until the milk and cookie seemed to calm Jaz even further and she fell into a light doze. I decided to take the opportunity to remove my contacts. They were feeling a little dry, and I didn't want them to become permanently affixed to my corneas.

When I came back to the seat, Jaz stirred and looked at me with one eye. (The other side of her face was pressed against a pillow, leaning against the side of the plane. She looked like a Cyclops. A cute Cyclops.)

"Who are you and what have you done with my girlfriend?" she asked, her one eye narrowing in suspicion.

"What are you talking about?" (You may have noticed that I say that quite a lot when I'm around Jaz.)

"You look different," Jaz explained - none too helpfully.

"I'm wearing my glasses," I explained in return, much more helpfully.

"You never said you were optically-challenged."

"You didn't know I wore contacts?" I pushed my glasses up my nose nervously. I hadn't done that since I was eleven.

"No," Jaz said, "And I would have thought that would be something you'd want to share."

"It's no big deal." I pushed my glasses up my nose again, and then took a long sip of my wine to remind myself I was an adult.

"You told me your kindergarten teacher's name," Jaz said, sitting up and looking at me with both eyes. There was a long pillow crease across her cheek. "But you failed to mention that you were legally blind?"

"I'm not legally blind." My hand moved up to my nose, but I scratched my chin instead. Then I remembered that I used to do that when I was eleven - even more often than I pushed my glasses up my nose.

"Those are the thickest glasses I've ever seen. They make coke bottles look like plastic wrap."

"You are a complete bitch," I replied.

Now, Gavin, you might think that was my normal, sane self. But get this: I didn't say it in a nasty way. I didn't throw a drink in her face. I didn't storm off and sulk by the bathrooms in the back of the plane (which is absolutely the worst place to sulk, but when you're on a plane, you don't have a lot of options.) I said it in a sort of…well…affectionate way. Kind of like, "you're a complete bitch, but you're my complete bitch." And I think I might have blushed a little. And maybe I gave her a little mock slap on the arm. OK, I don't think I did those things - I did do those things. And then she smiled at me and leaned over and kissed my nose. And I felt warm inside. My stomach felt like I'd just downed a shot of tequila. No, that's too burning. More like a sip of brandy. Potentially still burning, but think about it sitting in your stomach for a while. I could try to come up with a better analogy, but I have more evidence to present.


Exhibit #3:

You may have figured out that Jaz was a little obsessed with chocolate chip cookies. I didn't know this until I got on the plane. But in the first few hours of the flight I'd learned her favorite chocolate, her favorite nut (if nuts had to be involved, which apparently they shouldn't be under optimum conditions), and every other ingredient of the cookie. I'm serious. We're talking flour, sugar, vanilla, even fucking eggs.

Fortunately, an in-flight movie featuring a lot of scantily clad beach bimbos distracted her from the subject of cookies. But that only lasted for twenty-two minutes. (Twenty-two minutes is the extent of her attention span. I've timed it.) I was reading The Economist when she turned to me and said, "Macadamia nuts really only work with white chocolate chip cookies, by the way."

"What is the deal with you and chocolate chip cookies?" The question had to be asked eventually.

She looked shifty-eyed (I'm serious, her eyes actually shifted to the side!) and then she asked, "What do you mean?"

Here's the rest of the exchange, as I remember it:

Me: What do you mean, "what do you mean?"

Her: I mean I don't understand what you're asking. Please explain yourself more clearly.

Me: You're saying you don't know what I mean?

Her: Yeah. Isn't that usually what "what do you mean?" implies?

Me: You don't understand what I mean?

Her: No, not really.

Me: "Not really" as in you sort of understand what I mean?

Her: Not really as in I sort of lost track of the original question.

Me: What's with you and chocolate chip cookies?

Her: Oh. <pause> Right. <longer pause, eyes shifting> What do you mean exactly? <wince>

I tried to say a million things at once, and none of them would come out. My mouth opened and closed a few times, and she started laughing.

Her: You look like a goldfish. <chuckle, chuckle>

Me: That's nice.

I tried to look irritated, but her damn chuckles are infectious.

Her: So, you don't like chocolate chip cookies?

Me: What do you mean?

At that point we couldn't say another word because every time one of us opened our mouth to speak, we started giggling again. It took another twenty-two minutes and a cup of strong coffee to calm down.

So, think about this. There she was, exhibiting all of my pet hates: 1) shifty-eyed-ness; 2) asking, "what do you mean?"; 3) answering a question with a question; and 4) saying I look like a goldfish. (OK, no one has ever said I looked like a goldfish, but if they did it would have gone straight to my Pet Hates List.) I should have been furious with her. I should have been making plans to dump her the minute we landed in Paris.

Instead, I was having giggle fits. Giggle fits! Me!

I'm almost tempted to rest my case here and now, but there's so much more.


Exhibit #4:

We spent the next several hours in relative comfort, managing to keep interested in things for twenty-two minute bursts. Changing planes in Los Angeles was a joyful party. On our next flight, we were incredibly lucky to have a charming child sit across the aisle from us. He was a little angel of about four with white blonde hair and big blue eyes.

The above paragraph was meant to be ironic, of course. Unfortunately, you can't hear my sarcastic tone and see my rolling eyes, so let me speak plainly: LAX was hell on earth and we picked up a little demon on the way out.

The minute we hit cruising altitude (yes, I did sing the Mary Tyler Moore song again and yes, I believe my arm is permanently disfigured) the demon's mother pulled out a colorful backpack. I expected her to have crayons or a Gameboy. Instead, she pulled out a soccer ball, and the little brat proceeded to kick the ball up and down the aisle.

I tried to ignore the whole situation, concentrating on that report you sent me about investment potential in Siberia. The report held my attention even when the soccer ball hit me in the side of the head. Jaz wasn't so prepared to put up with the situation, however, and she leaned across me to glare at the mother.

"Did you see that look she gave me?" she whispered in disgust.

"What look?" I asked, watching a strange exchange of significant looks passing between my lover and the woman.

"That was the 'isn't my child the most adorable child on the face of the earth' look," Jaz explained. "I always scowl at that look. It scares 'em. They always grab the kid to keep it away from me before I eat it."

"Do you have a problem with children?" The little brat was irritating, but I was thinking that eating him might be a bit extreme.

"Well, not especially," Jaz amended. "I mean, they do eventually grow up and sometimes become worthwhile members of society."

I nodded in agreement. "But what do you do until then?"

She stopped speaking and stared at me, her mouth opened slightly. I could see a flash in her eyes, which I had learned meant her brain had gone into hyperdrive. I had no idea why. We were just having a normal conversation - in an idle chitchat sort of way.

"OK," she finally announced. "If we have kids, you're giving birth to them. I'm not having anything to do with that."

"Who…how…huh?" I was totally perplexed. I probably looked like a goldfish again.

"I can understand that you have maternal instincts," Jaz continued, oblivious to my perplexity, "and that's fine. But if you want a sweet little bundle of joy, you have to live through the nine months of carrying a blood-sucking parasite."

"Whoa!" I shouted, throwing up both hands to try to stop her brain's forward motion. "How the hell did we go from talking about kids to me actually planning on giving birth to one?"

"You don't want to give birth?"

"No…I mean, well…maybe…I mean…. no." I paused and tried to figure out where the hell I was. "Have you seen my hips?" I finally asked, clutching at the body parts in question. "These are not childbearing hips.

"And you think mine are?"

"Well…" I almost said something that I would immediately regret. Not that she has wide hips. She's just bigger boned than I am. But I didn't say that. "No," I said instead. "Maybe we should adopt."

"Sounds good," she replied. She sighed and relaxed into her seat. As she leaned back, I realized that I'd just arranged to adopt a child with a woman I'd only known for a week. But that's not even the crazy part. The crazy part was that I felt happy about it! I felt a sense of contentment and excitement and joy. I even started thinking of baby names.

That's right. Baby names.


Exhibit #5:

It took hours, but the little demon from hell eventually fell asleep. Of course, he fell asleep on the floor, his legs sprawled across the aisle so that everyone had to step over him to get to the toilets, but after the horror that we had lived through, we counted it as a blessing. Over the course of five hours, he had thrown five tantrums, kicked eleven shins, spilled three drinks, stole two watches, and had taken a flight attendant hostage. At least half the passengers in first class fled to economy. The flight was full, so they ended up wandering the aisles and going into the toilet for a place to sit down.

But at last a small amount of peace settled down upon us. Jaz and I chatted about everything and nothing. Then we went into the toilet and joined the Mile High Club. And you can stop blushing - you're the one who told me all the details about making love to that Hungarian dentist at the top of the Eiffel Tower. At least we were somewhere with doors that closed and locked.

Anyway, we were just settling back into our seats when our lovely (yes, sarcasm again) flying experience was interrupted by an announcement from the pilot:

"Ladies and Gentlemen," his voice crackled over the speakers, "you've probably noticed that we're descending." (No, actually, I hadn't. I was a little preoccupied at the time). "I'm afraid we're going to have to make an unexpected stop. We need to take care of an issue that's developed. There's absolutely nothing to worry about, and on behalf of the rest of the crew, I'd like to apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you."

Thankfully, Jaz had taken the aisle seat when we returned from the toilet. My right arm had already taken as much abuse as it could stand after two take offs, one landing, and heavy turbulence over the Great Lakes. So I was relieved when Jaz attacked my left arm. Maybe I could get a two-for-one sale on prosthetics.

"What is he talking about? What kind of issue?" Jaz asked, digging her fingers in and adding a little twist for variety.

"I'm sure it's nothing," I said, prying her fingers off my arm one by one. Once free, I waved down a passing flight attendant. "Can you tell us what's going on?"

"Like the captain said, there's nothing to worry about." She flashed me a phony smile that said "leave me the fuck alone you clueless bitch" (or something along those lines.) "I can assure you, it has nothing to do with the aircraft or the passengers."

She walked away to fluff someone's pillow or something equally important.

"Do you think we lost an engine or two?" Jaz asked. She pushed her face against the little window to see if fire was streaming from below the wing.

"The flight attendant said it had nothing to do with the plane or passengers." I tiptoed the fine line between being reassuring and being patronizing. "I'm no aviation expert, but I'd say the engines are a part of the plane."

"I bet some asshole in economy had a heart attack."

"Your sympathy is heartwarming, my love. But I'd say a heart attack would fall into the passenger-related category."

"Well what would make them land if it wasn't a problem with the plane or the passengers?"

"I guess we'll just have to wait and see."

I said the above in a calm, rational voice. In fact, I was fucking Zen-like. I didn't have to take deep breaths, or count to ten, or center my Chi. And my calmness continued when the truth of our "emergency landing" began to circulate. First class passengers are not above picking up the old sky phone and finding out exactly what is going on planetside.

"Strike?!" Jaz shouted. The word echoed back into economy. "How the hell can they go on strike?!"

"Sweetheart," I said reasonably, "you've got to see their side of it. The airline probably makes them work too long without a break or eat the airline food or stay in budget hotels. Hellish work conditions like that."

"Ladies and gentlemen." The captain's voice crackled over the loudspeaker again. (They can make several tons of airplane jammed with people and baggage fly through the sky, but they can't make a sound system that's even halfway comprehensible?). "Please fasten your seatbelts and return your seats and tray tables to their locked and upright positions. We are preparing for our landing in Reykjavik."

"Where the hell's Reykjavik?" Jaz squawked.

"Iceland." I answered calmly.

"Iceland?!" Jaz shouted, answering the question that was on the lips of most of the passengers.

"You know, I've always wanted to go to Iceland. I hear it's gorgeous this time of year." Visions of volcanoes and strange light and a land with no trees filled my head.

"They're ruining my trip to Paris with you." Jaz's lower lip extended into a pout. It was absolutely adorable and I wanted desperately to suck on it. "I wanted it to be romantic and perfect," she whined.

"It is romantic and perfect."

I couldn't control myself and leaned over and sucked on her lip. But she pulled away in irritation.

"We're landing in fucking Iceland!"

"Well, we're just going to have to make the best of it," I suggested in a tone of voice that sounded an awful lot like Hayley Mills'.

Hayley Mills, Gavin. We're talking perky. We're talking chipper. We're talking disgustingly optimistic.

Think back to a few weeks ago. We were sitting in that trendy bar in Manhattan. I asked for a pickled onion in my martini, and they gave me an olive. When I asked for a whole new drink, the bartender looked at me with a hint of incredulity. Is this sounding familiar? He's probably still seeing pieces of olive on his hanky when he blows his nose.

My point is, I am never calm. I am certainly never calm when my flight to France is diverted to Iceland. Not that that has ever happened to me before, but I know that I would never have taken it before without at least threatening a lawsuit. Shouting and throwing things might also have been a part of my repertoire. In other words, people would be calming me down. Instead, I was soothing someone else. I was telling someone else that things would work out. And I actually believed it! I knew in my heart that if I was with Jaz, no matter what happened or where we landed, things would be all right.

I had turned into fucking Pollyanna!


Exhibit #6:

I have to admit, my Pollyanna phase didn't last forever. I was OK landing and going through baggage claim and customs. I continued to excel at soothing and calming my aggravated lover.

But when I found out that it was 3:30 am local time, that the airport was shut (no cafes or bars, not to mention tacky souvenir shops, were open) and that the next available flight to Paris was 13 hours later…well, my façade fractured slightly.

OK, it crumbled into dust.

The details are a bit hazy, but I remember using the phrase "you have no idea who you're dealing with", claiming a medical condition that required coffee and a variety of baked goods, questioning the parenthood of the airline staff, and - this is the one that I'm not too sure about, but Jaz assures me I did - ripping the picket sign from the pilot and chasing him through the airport concourse.

I finally collapsed in a black vinyl seat, cradling a large coffee and croissant, and staring out the window in an exhausted daze. Jaz had disappeared to the toilets in case my dwindling anger was launched her way. Smart girl!

It never gets completely dark in Iceland in the summer, and I became fascinated with the strange light outside. It was a bit like dusk and a bit like dawn, and yet unlike either one. I felt as if I was on another planet. I looked around to see if my fellow passengers were just as fascinated as I was, but most of them were asleep - or eyeing me cautiously in case I came running at them with a sharpened picket sign. Fuck 'em, I made sure they all got coffee and baked goods. I even got the friggin' bar opened!

My fellow passengers were sprawled across seats and sleeping against walls, spread out through the terminal. Once the airline personnel had gotten our flights arranged, and the picketers had decided to set up away from the crazy woman, the only people around were from our flight. Except for a cleaning woman, who pushed her cart through the clumps of bodies.

She was elfin, in a Björk sort of way. OK, Björk is the only Icelandic person I know, but she really looked like Björk. Maybe she was Björk. Anyway, she walked up to me, her cart's wheels creaking, and sat down in the seat next to me. I thought it was a strange place to take a break, but seats were pretty sparse. I continued to contemplate Iceland, but she interrupted my thoughts and said, "You have a very old soul."

I admit, I didn't quite understand at first, and I glanced at my shoe.

"Thank you," I replied. Is that an appropriate response for someone who tells you that you have a very old soul? Probably not, but that's the one that sprang from my mouth.

She smiled and I smiled back, trying to figure out something equally nice to say to her. I was just about to tell her how much she looked like Björk when Jaz walked out of the ladies' room and sat down on the other side of me. Björk gasped and waved her hands in front of her face. She reminded me of Al Jolson. Not the black face thing - I mean the strange hand waving thing.

"Oh my, you two are incredible. Do you know that you are soul mates? You are two sides of the same coin. You have had many lives together, yet it is still amazing that you have found each other. You have a wonderful lifetime ahead to share."

I don't know about being two sides of the same coin, but at that moment, I'm certain Jaz and I looked like identical twins. Our eyes went wide and our mouths went wider.

"Thank you," Jaz finally said. We even shared our flare for great responses to comments about our souls.

Björk just smiled and then wandered off. Probably to find some other old souls that were hanging out in the bar.

"Wow," Jaz said succinctly.

"Yeah," I agreed, not feeling much more verbose. "Wow."

"I guess that explains why I kissed you right after you threw up and didn't even give it a second thought," she said with a smirk.

I could have laughed. I could have made a sarcastic comment. I could have even said something mean and nasty. God knows, I've been known to do all three. Sometimes at the same time.

But I didn't.

I looked into Jaz's eyes and said (my voice hardly cracking at all), "I think she's right."

And Jaz looked into my eyes and I waited for her to do all the things I just mentioned (laughing, sarcasm, meanness, the works). But I knew she wouldn't. I knew it in my…well, in my soul.

"I think she's right too," she whispered. And then she kissed me.

And it felt right, Gavin. Soul mates! I believe in soul mates! I believe that I am one half of a soul mate pair! I'm so shocked I need to use just one more exclamation point! And some more to show my true shocked state: !!!!

And you know what else? After writing this whole letter and telling you all of the reasons why I think I've lost my sanity, I've just realized that I don't really care if I have. That statement alone is probably going to drive you to go out and buy the straitjacket and reserve a month in the sanatorium.

But it's true. I'm in love. And I embrace all the crazy, foolish, mad, absurd, and downright loony things I do. In fact, I'm going to finish this letter and drop it in the mail and then I'm going to ask Jaz if she wants to spend the weekend in Iceland. I want to ride a pony through the lava fields, hike up a glacier, and dance with the woman I love beneath the midnight sun.

So I don't know when I'll see you next, Gavin. But I'm sure by then I will be utterly and completely insane.



The End

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