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fitting. or not.

the mind wanders back.

and i find myself in australia. often.

sipping lattes as we americans cannot seem to replicate.

endless afternoons. countless cafes. the rich, dense sydney light angling across blank pages before me.

there are so many reasons i went to australia last august.
adventure. need. perspective. more that i probably can't even admit to myself, or here actually (here. yes, that's it. some secrets are just that.).
but the impetus was a phone call from my classmate stephen.

we had brunched (ha, doesn't that sound so pretentious and new-york-ish to make brunch a verb!) a few months back, just before he left for sydney (home) and he had spoken of a girl. so when in the message he said he had important news, i knew. he was getting married. of course he was, and i would go. i would be there for him, to celebrate, to meet this girl--this lovely girl.

friendship is a funny thing.
and for a very long time i was not particularly skilled in that arena because i, quite frankly, didn't have the energy to invest, nor the foresight to understand that friendships are relationships--relationships that take work. real work.
so it was important to me--to make up for all the lost time--to go. to fly across the world. and support a friend.

for a week and a half stephen allowed me to intrude on his australian-way-of-life. i met his gorgeous fiancee. and we embraced adventure and comfort simultaneously.

on the saturday before i returned to the states, stephen and i headed to luna park, just the two of us. giddy with expectation we practically skipped from ride to ride assessing the damage we could do in the few hours before the park closed.

not much as it turned out. the rides were exorbitantly priced. so we settled on the three-pack and set out. stephen and i, both amusement park aficianados--with a penchant for the thrill of terror, immediately agreed on the park's one true roller coaster: wild mouse. we would take on the small, unassuming child's ride. and i demanded we do it together.
the boys in charge pandered to my impish demands and said, of course, of course you can both fit in one mouse car. we could not. well, i could fit, plus one of stephen's legs. or stephen could fit. with one of my butt cheeks.
so, nope, there was nothing to be done. we would not be riding together.
and so stephen set off, leaving me to scramble into the subsequent cart, calling out for him to wait-up (what, was i five? and like he had any control over it?).

so off i went.

and it was there on the slow-moving mouse-trap, nestled right up against sydney harbor that i first thought i might die. as the car moved around turn after turn, i thought: it's just going to keep going. it's going to topple right off. and i will fall right into that-there water, spending eternity with nemo and company. i mean, surely no one has ever weighed as much as i. i will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. this is where the ego goes, you know?
needless to say, this was not the kind of terror that thrilled me. i became very quiet and thought very seriously about screaming out to those boys at the front. if i begged for them to end it--would they? would they even be able to hear me? and would they they climb up to retrieve me? no. no, of course not. instead i would be the one person who would just head right off the track, silently, eye's shut tightly. and the only sound would be that of the cart hitting the water. and i'd be gone.

when the ride finally ended i met stephen on the other side. and truly, in some ways it felt like that: the other side. and we both took deep breaths and then began to tell our tales of the mouse-trap-that-near-did-us-in. and the thing is, stephen had the same thoughts. he figured he would be the one--the one who would finally cause the cart to divert from it's pre-destined path.

and then he turned to me and said, meg, can you imagine where our minds would have gone if we had actually ridden together? how we would have felt knowing there were two of us--a combined weight, too much for too small a space?

and oh god, did we laugh.

i didn't actually see stephen get married when i was in australia. they decided, at the last minute, to elope to hawaii, as they should have. but it didn't matter you know? because i went.

and we had luna park. and i found myself thankful for the many, many different ways that friendship manifests itself.


Courtney said...

that sounds like such an amazing adventure! Thank goodness for friends to share it with. I wish I could go to Australia!

JMay said...

I can agree w/ you on that Americans cannot replicate the lattes! The coffee is Sweden is 100 times better than here :-)

I've never been to Australia, I want to go so badly! I loved reading this, it was like a story book!

Jalene said...

one of my favorites. this was so beautifully written, meg.

we have a wild mouse ride at a theme park in utah. i've thought the same thing everytime i ride it. except there is cold hard concrete below. nemo and friends sounds way more appealing.

Brittany said...

i thought of that wild mouse ride in utah that jalene is talking about. it truly is terrifying. i will die every time. i just know it.

but, this is beautiful. i feel like this is just what friendship is. i can't put my finger on it, but it feels like friendship.

Ruth said...

Has anyone ever told you that you are an ASTOUNDING writer?


Steffi said...

Oh my, above all I can totally relate to the wild mouse experience. This is the worst thing ever. Never have I been so scared! And it looks like a kiddie´s ride, yes it does. So harmless...

S. said...

loved this - loved your photo, and love that you just...went.

olivia rae said...

love everything about this... so cool that you just went. sometimes just being there means SO much, it's incomprehensible.

Micaela said...

oh your writing, your brilliant written experiences... i can not get enough. :)

friendships are truly like relationships.. you said it well. The end of some of my friendships- that pain was often worse than a break-up. It's a funny thing, that moment you realize that it takes time to be a good friend... a kind of invested support. You are absolutely right to go to Australia for this reason, as well as the great adventure you had.

LenkaLovee said...

what a beautiful story.
those adventures of yours sound amazing! i dream of going to australia one day! :)

Taylor Norris said...

i really felt like i was on that roller-coaster with you! i'm not much of a rider myself (motion-sickness) but it sounds amazing and i really love to hear of other people's close friendships. it's like the most intimate things are actually quite universal.

joyful girl said...

Just wanted you to know, I mentioned you on my blog. And ironically enough, I'm in Australia right now... Funny... :)

Michelle said...

That sounds like an amazing theme park experience. You write so well!

kate. said...

you always have so many good thoughts, so much wisdom to share. i really like reminiscing on the foreign experiences, too :) i am also just starting to realize and value friendship for what it is truly worth. and it is beautiful. great post, i loved reading, as always.

Belen said...

I MUST go to Australia. I love their accents. :) Some of my favorite customers are Australian, lol.

By the way, I gave you a special award in my latest entry. :)

xoxoKrysten said...

I love the way that this was written and that is so neat that you just up and went.

Alexa Yupangco said...

I think it's amazing that you went all the way to Australia for your friend. Especially since, if it had been me, I would probably have done the same thing.

As always, very nicely written. I love reading your blog!

*Mel said...

You have such a gorgeous way with words. You really do. I love reading about all your adventures and how they've sculpted the course of your life!

Well Nice Chels said...

Australia.. the boyfriend and I talk frequently about moving there. Half of his family is from Melbourne, we feel like we could be too and our kids should get to be Australian. Your story is a good wakeup call for me, you can always find time to work on friendships and then you get beautiful moments and memories. Eeek Im a bit weepy today haha

Robin said...

Last weekend, a friend and I took a long walk across the Harbour Bridge to Luna Park ... I just read your post and found myself nodding in understanding. :)

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