An Open Letter for Friendship

Dear Australia,

It’s raining right now, 2:15 EDT. I’m sitting in the bedroom of my NYC apartment. The window is open, the fan is blowing, the lights are off. The air actually feels cool and pleasant. I wonder often what the world like is on the other side, south of the equator, opposite hemisphere. Did you know water drains, toilets flush the other way here? Does that fact fascinate only me? It’s a very nifty fact of which you should be extremely proud, because I associate it with you. I like nifty facts.

I’m sorry to say I don’t know you very well. Sure, I know of your Ayers Rock and Aborigines and the Opera House and your incredible Great Barrier Reef and digeridoos and vegemite and great white sharks and famous surfing; the Crocodile Hunter and the Dundee bloke and Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban and I don’t think Mel Gibson counts; and your Outback Steakhouse. And, of course, your distinct accent. I wish I could hear that accent more often. I sound very American, but I want to be able to hear Australian in my mind whenever I speak. That would rule. Anyway, all these things I listed, while phenomenal (even Crocodile Dundee, but maybe not so much vegemite), barely scratch the surface of the true you.

I do want to thank you, though. The reason I’m grateful is part of the huge appeal of getting to know you better. I want even more to visit you, because you seem to have produced a gentleman who seems genuinely, deeply, passionately interested in one of my very, very best friends, so interested that he is flying across the world, north of the equator, his opposite hemisphere, “Up Over,” at this very moment, to meet my friend. The whole thing started out bravely, yet unassumingly enough, with a single email. Then, it became something bigger. And we’re all giddy about it. Americans get giddy, you know.

Dear island-continent, what do you prefer to be called? Straight-up Australia? Oz? Down Under? I think I’m going to call you Barry. The gentleman’s profession is a barrister, so it’s fitting. Is that okay? You can call me May. Sometimes my close friends call me May-May, so you should wait until that feels comfortable for both of us. Oh, Barry, I’ve never seen anything like this in my friend. She has this look in her face all the time. She tells stories of the gentleman: what he writes or says or grandly gestures, and her already striking eyes twinkle or sparkle or … something. Light dances around in those eyes, and the source of illumination is NOT external.

So, Barry, this is a plea for friendship. It would be so wonderful to get to know you better! And I just want to thank you for sending over a good man who’s serious about earning my friend’s heart; a man whose @$! I won’t kick because he’ll not likely break her heart. Did you see that, Barry, with the censoring? Other guys, boys, @%$! have mistreated my friend in the past, and they have ticked me off, and the very thought of that happening again causes me to compromise my status at BYU by swearing. I frighten myself when I get overly like this, Barry, but I’m not scared to express ill will toward jerks. You’re not a jerk, Barry; I have no hard feelings toward you.

He sent her a rose this morning, you know.

I’ve seen my friend literally swoon. She has collapsed in a puddly heap of her own melty swooniness, which I believe has the consistency of fine chocolate. I had no idea swooning was something people actually did. Now I know.

A lot of hypotheticals are floating around, especially The Hypothetical, because, honestly, these two are in love. And that’s exciting, for certain. Then, Barry, what if  I get to visit you? I mean, this is why I’m writing you – we should establish our friendship first, right? I don’t want to startle you in any way.

Anyway, I’ve gone on way too long. I hope this meeting between your gentleman and my friend goes well. Astoundingly, infinitely; hand-clappingly and jump-up-and-downingly. Barry, above everything else I’ve said, I just want to thank you for helping make my friend so happy.

I hope to see you soon. And, in these circumstances, never too soon.


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