This part of the story begins after Christmas, after flying from Buffalo to Boston, Boston to Dublin, and arriving at 2 am EST. 

I arrive in Dublin after a 15 hour journey that included a very small amount of sleep, but lucky for me the seat next to me on the plane was empty so I was able to ‘stretch’ out a little bit.  I boarded the AirCoach to Dublin, only knowing I was to get off at the “Merrion Road” stop across from the “RDS”.  After around 40 minutes the bus driver told me my stop arrived, although I was might suspicious.  Where’s the RDS? I asked.  Oh, around the corner, he said.  Hmm, I thought, not what I was told earlier.  So I get off the bus and stand there for a moment.  I walk to the AirCoach sign where I see he’s dropped me off at the the stop AFTER Merrion Road.  Great.  It’s 6 am Dublin time, 1 am NY time and I have no idea where I am. 

So I take a deep breath and start walking.  I’m smart and resourceful I tell myself.  Sure enough, after walking around the area I find the RDS and find the stop I should have been left at originally.  Moments later, Allison arrives! Yea!  I’m completely knackered and after we arrive at her flat and chat for a bit, I go right to sleep.  USAir had neglected to connect my luggage in Boston, so we had to wait around until around noon for Aer Lingus to deliver my luggage, which was fine by me because frankly I was exhausted. 

I shower, and we head into Dublin!  Dublin is just as I remember it, and yet smaller.  It’s raining [surprise!] and I somehow didn’t think it was necessary to bring an umbrella [dumb dumb].

My goal for this trip was to hang out with Allison in Dublin, visit Belfast and the old campus and meet up with some of the people I had gone to school with there — Joanne, Linda, Stephen and perchance a fella named Jody.  Joanne, Linda, and Stephen had lived with me and next door to me at the University of Ulster.  Jody also went to school there, but we had never met.  Long story short, he’d seen a youtube video I’d made about Uni of Ulster and we emailed back and forth for about 6 months, only to abruptly stop hearing from him in September.  Armed with his number and undecided as to whether or not to call, I decide to do just that.  Why not? I figured.  When will I ever be in this vacinity again? 

Friday, Allison and I went to go see some Irish theater by means of a musical called The Gruffalo, a childrens book turned theater piece.  While it was certainly entertaining, I felt far, far away from Broadway…. let’s just say the entertaining part came from observing things such as the sweat stain on the KNEE of one of the actors, then watching the sweat appear on his back, his stomach, his armpits.  Man! Could he sweat!  Now that’s entertainment!

Post theatre, I borrow Allison’s phone and call Jody.  I leave a voicemail detailing my plans to arrive in Belfast the next day and was he free for a drink? The surprising part to all this is how much of a non-deal it was.  It should have been strange, calling someone I’ve never met, someone I’ve only exchanged emails and texts with, someone whose voice I’ve only heard from voicemails left on my own phone…but it wasn’t.  Later that day he text back, great to hear from you! we definitely should get together for a wee drink tomorrow night, merry christmas, see you tomorrow.

Hmm, I thought.  I actually wasn’t expecting to hear from him.  Allison and get drinks in the city centre that evening and Sat morning catch the train to Belfast. About an hour out from Belfast Jody returns a call I made to him earlier and for the first time, we actually talk.  His family is in from England, so he has to have dinner with them, but he’s goign to be coming into Belfast tonight so we’ll meet up for drinks.  And even though I’m talking to someone I’ve never met, again, it’s not weird.  Maybe six months of daily/weekly emails allow you that, I dont know.  But either way, it was remarkable to me how easy it was.  We say goodbye and Allison and I go about our business.

Belfast is tiny!  How can it be called a city? My only thought is that I lived there before moving to New York City and frankly, everything is bound to feel small after living here.  You can walk the city centre in less than 20 minutes and there’s seriously nothing going on.  We hop the train out to Jordanstown and I can’t help but feel slightly haunted by my past.  The campus is still there, but I’m not.  My life has moved on and I can’t help but be satisfied with what I”ve done since I left it.  We watch the sunset from the across the Belfast Lough and somewhere inside I know that the sunset is mirroring apart of my life coming to a close.

We head back to Belfast, check in at our hostel and grab some dinner….

And here’s where the Jody story ends.  He stands me up.  I’ve never been stood up in my life.  Ever.  Because frankly, I don’t have people in my life that would treat another human that way.  After being more than slightly annoyed, Allison says something spot on.  It’s not that he’s an asshole, it’s merely that he’s just a guy.  There’s nothing special about him in the least.  Whatever his lame reasons are for not showing, it all boils down to the fact that he’s simply a mediocre human being.  And she’s right.  So with that, another sunset in my life.  

I couldn’t help but think as the train pulled away from Belfast to Dublin that I would never return.  I’ve lived there, I’ve visited post-graduation, and now there were no more ghosts to confront.  Belfast remains completely engrained in my past, a thread in the quilt of who I am and who I’ll be.

The same feeling washed over me as my plane left Dublin…..whenever would I return?  There’s little I haven’t seen on the island, and with so many other places in the world to vist — why would I come back?

It was great to be back in Dublin, to visit Belfast and Jordanstown but it really felt a bit like chasing the mist.  In the light of the whole being stood up thing, I couldn’t help but think of someone else in my life back home…..someone who would never do something like that.   I think that I’ve been missing what’s been right under my nose.

This realization coupled with 1) having the balls to give Josh my card  and 2) having the balls to actually call Jody hammered home the point, phase two of the transformation had taken place.  

Unfortunately, I haven’t completed phase 3.  Phase 3 involves having the balls to actually tell this guy I think of him as more than a friend.  And while I feel strengthened by my recent experiences, I’m waivering on this point.  Oh, the awkwardness of telling a friend that you want to be more than friends!

So here’s to 2008 and the possibilities she presents!