We hug, with great enthusiasm.
As promised, Athy lifts me clean off the ground. This makes us laugh, I’m taller but she’s definitely stronger and she’s been waiting to do that for weeks.
Jess goes to the restroom (she probably needs a nap before the drive home) and something rather amusing happens while she is gone.
A doe-eyed young woman of about nineteen makes a timid and typically British deferential approach to Athy and I. She proffers her (UK) mobile phone - it is not working in the US. The people who were supposed to pick her up are no where to be seen and she cannot raise a connection without a service provider. She seems genuinely distressed.
Would we, could we possibly be so good as to call a number for her?
My phone is also a foreign one of course, but Athy obligingly fishes hers out and starts to read off the number the girl is showing from her screen. I read it over their shoulders.
First Episcopalian Church of Hooting Dancing Singing Sweet Little Baby Jesus, address Bless You Happy Street, Zip Code, Faithtown. And the text messages - they look forward to meeting her, they will look after her, when can she come over…?
As Athy is dialling the number from her phone, I am doing the mental calculations to see if I reckon I can get out my phone and take a picture of the girl’s messages, and simultaneously composing pithy Tweets… Innocent girl induced to fly round world to join cult, begs help from the two most ardent atheists in the county shocker…
I was about to raise an objection to letting such a polite and innocent seeming young woman go off with these people, when they suddenly appeared - about ten of them, all incredibly Christian and glowing looking - smiling and greeting her as she throws many thank yous over her shoulder and becomes engulfed, leaving Athy and I to forever wonder if we have just failed to Save a victim of the Saviour.
It was too late now, and anyway, we had a meeting of minds and souls to be getting on with.
I’m not going to describe Jess’s house to you, because if Jess wants you to see her house, you’ll be the first to know when your invitation plops through your letter box. I will say that’s it’s a pretty unique property, quirky and not necessarily very traditional, and if you know Jess at all then that will no doubt seem as fitting to you as it did to us.
She hadn’t cleaned it she said, because she had had more important things to do that day. And we accepted that as no more than the literal truth, and eminently reasonable. We had not come to be entertained by Martha Stewart, we had come to bask in the awesome power of Mrs Hood’s captivating and bewitching personality.
Although this is a bit of a cliché, that you might justifiably feel I should be able to do better than, I have been thinking about this for days and the best way I can come up with to describe Jessica is that the woman is quite simply a force of nature. She is like no one else I have ever met, and the sheer raw power of her personality is like facing into a gale on a cliff top: which I mean in the exhilarating sense, not the life threatening one!
Jess is the first to admit that she is not everybody’s cup of tea. You wouldn’t be guaranteed to like her, and more than one of you would be downright terrified of her. She is one of those people who would make you very nervous if you sensed that she didn’t respect you. You wouldn’t fancy your chances if she downright disapproved of you. To indulge myself in another cliché, the expression ‘doesn’t suffer fools gladly’ could have been invented to describe this woman.
She’s tall, and will I’m sure forgive me for not using the word ‘dainty’ in my top five associative words. She moves with an almost surprising easy grace and looseness to her limbs, she is highly coordinated, and you have never ever met anyone so comfortable in their own skin. She has a sonorous voice which holds you captivated, and of all the awesome aspects of hanging out with her, by far the best is that she shares the contents of her powerful and ever churning mind with a fluid, almost hypnotic fluency - downloading thoughts, facts and conclusions straight into your brain in a stream of consciousness style which holds you spellbound (even if you only understand 40% when she gets medical).
She oozes a powerful, effortless and very dominant sexuality that she will never ever have the need to play up, use, abuse, or let you access. But you will feel the pull of it. The magnetism is inescapable. And if you think you’d like to spank her, bear with me while I roll on the floor laughing for a moment.
On this day she is in addition also emotional and wobbly because both of her children have left her home to pursue their various Summer activities. Her nest would be empty if Athy and I had not flown in to fill it. She will cook. She is intending to eat her feelings she says, but it is also clear that she is intending to look after us, to make us welcome and comfortable in her nest.
She does, and we are.
As the evening progresses and we are served delicious homemade chilli and wine (that’s not homemade thank god!) we are, absolutely as expected, to no ones surprise, talking as if we have known each other for ever. We begin, all three of us, to notice a distinct interest in our meeting on Twitter. People are asking about it, they are envious. There seems to be a distinct, pervasive idea that we will indulge in some sort of sexual activity, despite the fact that all three of us are well known to be heterosexual. It’s funny the first couple of times, but then we start to raise our eyebrows at the sheer number of Tweets, sent by different people, which are along these lines. Apparently we are missing some sort of opportunity to earn some serious sex-industry cash, by confining ourselves to talking, telling, sharing, advising, commiserating, laughing, indignating (indulge me), emoting (forgive me) and not least of course, listening.
No description of Jess would be even close to accurate without mention of The Man. Of all the many wonderfully complex, impressive and dynamic things Jess is; she is also in luuuuuurve. Much like a teenager. Much like a mushy pile of goo. Much like a friend you love and admire and might just start making put a dollar in a jar every time she says ‘Martin’ so that you can buy that Porsche you’ve always fancied yourself owning. It’s incredibly endearing, and I am also luckily enough to have met him back in January when I first met her, so I was even better able to picture everything she was describing.
I thought he was just great. He’s a quieter person than her (which should prevent them murdering each other later), he’s an unassuming English guy, but he gives off a really good vibe. There’s something about him. He’s a still water who runs deep. An observer of life to guard over her driving force of life. I get them. I dig them.
And when he needs to, although it’s only rarely, he knows exactly how to shut her the fuck up.
All the best people meet on Twitter.
So on to Athy, another of the best people in the world I have met on Twitter.
Athy, Jess and I are very different. As Athy will joke to you - she is GI Jane to my Barbie - but in many ways other than physically, we have a similar kind of strength. Neither Athy nor I have the magnetism or dynamism of Jess, we are not as dominant, we are not as ostensibly fearsomely badass. Athy has a delightful girly voice which is somewhat at odds with her muscles. If she blindfolded you and carried you over her shoulder (you should be so lucky, I’ll give you a moment to subside) you would be wondering if a young girl was managing to carry you.
Her voice is complimented by her extremely pretty face - and she looks about twelve year years old in this area. However, you would be under no illusion, this woman does not feel the need to doll herself. She doesn’t colour her hair. She doesn’t do makeup (well she doesn’t bloody need it!). She tried on some high heeled shoes and tried to have a walk. As good friends interested only in her best interests, Jess and I could hardly recommend she appear in public in them. But she wouldn’t want to. She isn’t interested in making you feel better about what she looks like by conforming to your ideas about femininity.
(I am. I’m doing that for all three of us.)
She is another one who is comfortable in her skin. She in another one with a personal integrity which glows strongly and is easily perceived. She has authority which is unquestionable, despite the youthful face and girly voice. (We discuss the concept of feminine allure, and it was one of the most illuminating conversations I have ever had.)
All three of us understand sexuality. This is one of the areas over which we bonded. Control of, and insight into, this aspect of ourselves is something all three of us share. We know what to take seriously, what to treat with respect and care, and what to giggle at. This is instinctive to us, and we returned to the topic many times.
But no - I’m no more telling you more about that than I am describing Jess’s house.
As for Athy’s personality - well this is very interesting. The best word I can use to describe her mentality, is ‘masculine’ - and I mean it as a massive compliment.
She is nobel. She is protective. She is altruistic (ok, I am talking about the really good, amazing type of masculinity here. Although if you warrant a punch in the face I expect she’d be pretty fucking efficient at that too). She takes care of the people she cares about. She is independent and self-sufficient (although she has a preference for company).
She is creative and talented - but you will see that for yourself, she doesn’t feel the need to tell you. She makes you feel wonderful because she has a way of conveying a sense that she is interested in you and cares about you, and this in turn makes you feel enormously pleased on your own behalf and rather privileged. I believe (and am correct in believing) that this is why men fall in love with her. Which they frequently do. So do women.
She doesn’t need to take your spotlight, but only the most self obsessed and lacking in insight amongst you would underestimate her nevertheless.
She, like me, has taken her time getting to know herself, she didn’t get anything for free and her self-realisation came in later years and is all the more precious for it.
She is supportive. So supportive. She is an amazing listener, and like Jess, when she listens to you she also assimilates the various things you have said, she puts puzzle pieces together and she comes to perspicacious and sometimes startlingly perceptive conclusions.
Jess and Athy both know me better than I know myself after just one weekend.
A weekend of food, sunshine, alcohol, alcohol, some more alcohol, a minimum amount of sleep, and talking talking talking talking talking talking talking.
A weekend spent with best friends I met on the internet, fucking knew I knew like sisters, even though I didn’t ‘know’ I knew it, and one which meant more to me than I can say, and will forever be one of my best memories ever.
Thank you, sisters. I love you.