There he was, in his sudden, out-of-nowhere fashion, and of course my mind froze for that split second between knowing what just happened couldn't possibly happen and knowing almost simultaneously that yea, so what, it just did. This probably resulted in the confused, annoying look on my mug which always brought a smile to his face, not in a way that suggested the smile was at my expense, but in a gentle, fun sort of way that was never threatening.
"Bob…..dude! I'd almost forgotten about you! Where you been, my old imaginary friend?"
"Where do you THINK I've been, Michael? Surfing the light fantastic, my friend, deep down there in your Id where all the wonderful things occur that make me glad I really DO exist. Just thought I'd pop in (to your more visible awareness) and pay a visit. It HAS been awhile, hasn't it?"
Of that I had to agree. I hadn't "seen" Bob in what seems like years, since I last posted about him in one of my old blogs. But, just as I would have least expected him to show up, here he was. Which provoked a momentary worry………
"Now wait……why ARE you here right now? I'm actually not as stressed out today as I have been these last few months, and there's no immediate threat to my well-being I'm aware of, so is there any particular reason why YOU of all………people…….decided to remind me I can dream up pretty cool hallucinations?"
Bob turned his gentle smile away from me and gazed out over the front yard of my little acre of sand. "Relax, Michael, as a construct goes, I am not the "harbinger" model, or some sign or symptom of mental instability. I'm simply here as your friend, a sort of reminder that the wonder you suspect is lurking out there in that big bad universe somewhere really IS there, and as scary as it all can be, you can be commended for hanging in there and enjoying it regardless. And I also wanted to congratulate you on having collected such a unique circle of friends on that internet connection of yours. Each one has been contributing grandly to your state of mind these days, and believe it or not, you are returning the favor." He leaned over conspiratorially and whispered in my ear, "And I think they really, really LIKE you!" With that last little "Sally Fields at the Oscars" joke, he chuckled in that infective manner that only Bob could conjure up, and I laughed unabashedly right along with him, not too concerned that anybody who could see me sitting alone on my porch swing would wonder what I was laughing about.
"Well, thanks, Bob, I guess………..yea, these people I've stumbled across ARE pretty special. But there's one thing that really bugs me sometimes, when it comes to the friends I make online. It's the distance that's usually involved, and the likelihood that I will never get to meet just about any of them. I've been friends with Paul for what now seems like forever, and I'm no closer to dropping in on him in Arizona than I've ever been. Hell, I sometimes wonder if I will even get to go anywhere further than this county line before I die…..sigh…."
"I understand how you feel, my good fellow, and no, I can't (and probably shouldn't even if I COULD) promise you that you'll ever get to meet these good people in person, but I also know that what they give you transcends all distance and presence or you wouldn't be so concerned about it. Remember your reunion, and how it gave you the opportunity to visit with Jules and her husband? You never thought THAT would happen but it did. And those few short days you spent with them was almost the best part of the entire trip, wasn't it?' I was nodding my head in agreement "Well, yea, you might just never get around to meeting Paul or Judy or Anne but you probably know them already in ways that perhaps most people who see them often never will. You have all made connections that reside deeper down in the soul than what being conveniently "local" to each other might have provided. So, enjoy them as you have them, and hey, ya never know what might happen in the future."
"And this is ALL you're here to tell me? You're not gonna warn me the Mayans are gonna kill us all next year?"
"Nope", he laughed as he faded from view in that Cheshire Cat fashion of his, "they aren't any better at ending the world then the Christians are!"
So I sat there staring at the now empty spot on the swing next to me and then laughed out loud again as I realized I had something to blog about tonight……….