"'Cause If one day you wake up and find you're missing me
And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I could be
Thinking maybe you'll come back here to the place that we'd meet
And you'll see me waiting for you on our corner of the street"
- "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" by The Script
I was never a believer in love at first sight, and above all, I was a firm nonbeliever in kismet. The idea of being "made for each other" seemed cheesy and practically impossible. Stuff like that was for the saps, the chick flick junkies, and the girls who read the horribly written paperbacks by the checkout area of the grocery store. Definitely not for me. I couldn't say I was a tomboy but I never really took much interest in love, at least, not until my sixteenth summer. Boys were boys and better off as friends than lovers. Romance made everything complicated and it all ended up leading to two things: marriage, or breaking up in some kind of dramatic, emotional fashion. I sure as hell was not looking to get married. I didn't want to lose my dignity and be broken up with, either, nor did I have the heart to break up with a guy. Kiss and dismiss, that was my motto.
One morning in early June some dozen years ago, my mom proposed a family vacation, to "enhance our global understanding." She is a World History teacher at my high school, so this "global understanding" stuff is pretty much her forte. We had a giant map of the world covering one wall in our basement, and we'd have to throw darts at it. Wherever the dart hit, we'd go.
This time, my mom suggested I throw the dart. So my dad blindfolded me and spun me around, sticking a very dangerous-looking dart in my hand. As soon as I got my footing back, I threw it as hard as I could at the wall where he pointed me. When I heard it stick with a dull thump!, I pulled off the blindfold. Ireland. Interesting. Nobody in my family had thought about going there. After all, it's a pretty small island. My mom smiled and patted me on the back, stating something about a famine that happened two hundred years ago. My dad muttered something about how Ireland was a girly country, with too much folk music and happy little leprechauns. I was just hoping we we'd be able to eat something other than potatoes.
The date was set. In a week my parents, my brother and I would board a plane and head to Ireland for a two-week long tourism enterprise to expand our global understanding.
"Annie—wake up. We're about to land!" my mother whispered, shaking me. I tried to swat her away and go back to sleep, but it was difficult to sleep in coach anyway, especially with the slight size of the plane. We'd been flying for nine hours and were finally approaching the airport in Dublin.
I stretched. "What time is it?"
"Ten in the morning, hun. Ireland time."
"Argghhhh!" That meant 4 AM Chicago time. My mom just rolled her eyes and looked out the window. I couldn't help but peek too, trying not to be too obvious. I couldn't lie, it looked kind of gross. I was expecting green pastures and a castle or something. Instead, it was rainy and muddy looking. Mom still gazed out the window with fascinated eyes.
"It's usually pretty damp in Ireland," she said, catching my gaze. "It hardly gets above 68 degrees, Fahrenheit that is. But I've heard it's usually pretty lovely when the weather is nice."
"I hope it's nice sometime we're here," I muttered and the plane touched down. My life would never be the same.