Trip Start May 30, 2008
28Trip End Ongoing
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I had seen and done what I wanted to in Seattle and moving on early was exciting. What would the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul's bring? How would I feel about seeing Claire again? All these questions and thoughts were fresh and made me realise again that life is for living. As Morgan Freeman succinctly put it in The Shawshank Redemption. 'Get busy living or get busy dying.' Living for the moment was where it was at and I certainly wanted a piece of that.
Flying through America had now started to be a regular occurrence in my plans and so were the nerves about getting to the airport on time. Despite priding myself on my timekeeping skills I remember what it's like to rush to an airport and have the taxi break down on you. Thankfully none of that tension sufficed on this journey and I was at the airport with plenty of time to spare; and with the luxury of having only a three hour flight meant that I could even try to take a nap before the wheels touched down in Minnesota.
I'd be a liar to say there weren't any nerves either on the plane or when I stepped of it. Being confident is one thing but on occasions like this it pays to be slightly apprehensive as it keeps you in check. I could easily have panicked as I didn't know where I would meet Claire, so hanging around at the baggage area remained the sensible option. Although in saying that I did walk away to check out where else she possibly could be. No sooner had I moved then I saw this figure emerge from the shadows. That's Claire I thought as I saw this determined figure head for the baggage hall. I could have called her, however I walked right by and tried to make myself a welcome distraction. Despite these best attempts, the Minneapolis Minx via Upstate New York walked by. I then turned round in the direction of the baggage area and then watched with glee as the excitement on Claire's face was plain to see. I was literally blown away at this girl's joy at seeing me. the greeting definitely blew away any doubts about our first encounter after our Montana experience.
I won't bore you too much of my time spent with Claire, except to say that we grew close and thoroughly enjoyed being together. The feelings were mutual and it became plain to see that this was not a holiday romance.
As for the city itself, well it had a vibe that I liked. Claire took me to her favourite spot, the Magnificent avant-garde Guthrie Theatre. This dark blue building had great views of the city, which we experienced at day and night. Whilst we didn't see a play here this time we did get to see a legend. Those of you older enough to remember the Little House on the Prairie would have wanted to have seen the stage play of this 70's show, which brought us Laura Ingles. Melissa Gilbert was reprising her role in the stage production and was signing autographs and posing for pictures afterwards. I had missed all this until we had walked right by her, upon which Claire mentioned who it was. All I had seen was the back of a woman's head. Hey, I wanted to see what she looked like in the flesh, no don't get too sordid please. Anyway, instead of just walking back to see how well she had aged, I thought of a cunning plan. This plan was so cunning it saw me pick up a ticket, walk past her and then put it in the bin. Claire thought, and in hindsight I agree that it looked blatant - but this was Laura Ingles and it wouldn't have been fair not to pay homage to my grandfather's favourite programme. This tiny figure had indeed aged well, so you can now go and have your foretissued fantasies with my blessing.
I had enjoyed a great weekend, had visited Claire's workplace and enjoyed a city that whilst not making a dent in places to see in America had a feel to it that made it all the more real. Claire had made me feel special during my five days with her and had shown me such warmth and love that I didn't want to board my plane to Seattle, this I did reluctantly. But despite the emotions I felt I could take comfort, safe in the knowledge that I would return for an extended period in October. Until then, Portland, Monterey, San Francisco and a Green Tortoise bus trip would have to keep me entertained, but as someone famous once said 'I'll be back'. Cheers Governor Arnie for that gem.
Stay cool kids.