Two and a bit years ago, I met Jon for the first time on a weekend visit up from Durban. It was in a crowd, and ExMi had dragged me to Cool Runnings for a lunch with friends. Jon was part of the crowd and had come along with a mutual friend, Bergen. We chatted a bit here and there, but it wasn’t anything explosive or amazing like you see in the movies.
I mean, look, Jon seemed like a nice guy, but did he blow my mind? No, not really. He seemed like he was going through a hectic break up, and more than that, he seemed too decent. Yes, “too decent”, can you believe that? I’d been single for four years because I was terrified of finding another bad apple, so I stayed away from the apple tree completely. And Jon was the total opposite of my type. For one, he wasn’t a moron. For two, he seemed stable, secure, semi-sane and altogether normal.
Fast forward a few months and I’d moved up to Joburg and was living out on the farm in the middle of nowhere. At that stage Bergen and I were both single and spent a lot of time together, with a standing once a week dinner non-date. Continually in conversation he brought up his friend Jon and how perfect he thought we were for each other. I pooh-poohed his suggestions and laughed them off saying I was quite happily single and totally not interested in a dating opportunity AT. ALL. And I was, really. I loved the horses, ducks, geese, dogs and cats I was surrounded with. I started making a few friends that I saw on the regular. I was falling in love with Joburg as my new home and writing up a storm. I was starting to heal from the trauma of dealing with Kiera’s death as well as my brother nearly dying too (he was shot on duty, for those who don’t know). For the first time in my life, I was wholly responsible for my own entertainment, happiness and peace. It was wonderful!
Eventually though, the novelty of my new life had started wearing thin and I became home sick. At dinner with Bergen one night I was moaning about how much I was missing my siblings and Durban in general. All I wanted was the feel of beach sand between my toes, the sound of my brothers laughing and teasing each other and the warmth of my mom’s embrace. I missed ‘home’. I was desperately eager to take a break, just for a few days, and go back to my old life. Bergen jumped in between my whining and told me that Jon was about to do a road trip to visit a friend in Durban. Before he’d finished his sentence I was dialing Jon’s number and offering him some company on the road. He (reluctantly) agreed and a few days later, arrived at my house near 4am in the morning to begin our road trip.
I didn’t know it then, but Jon is very particular about who he spends close proximity with and I wonder what he would do if he knew then what he knows now, would he have a repeat of the trip or drive in the opposite direction, change his number and rock himself to sleep every night?
We’d planned ahead for the inevitable awkward moments of silence and put together lots of road music (Jon) and books (me) in case things got very bad. Knowing Jon like I know him now, he probably mentally prepared himself for DAYS on end for this trip (Hahahahahaa! He’s so OCD!) which explains why he was so shocked when he arrived and I swung my handbag over my shoulder and hopped into the front seat without any luggage (I had a back up wardrobe back at my mom’s place, and the farm’s electricity had been out all night so I didn’t bother packing anything in the dark but my toothbrush). I cannot express to you his concern and confusion about me not bringing anything with that didn’t fit into my handbag. Far too unprepared for his liking!
The road trip was nothing either of us expected. There were no awkward moments! Jon, as it turns out, was not the nerdy nerd I thought he was. We had crap loads in common and we spoke over each other and interrupted sentences to get new ones out, we compared childhoods (I won in the Weird Department) and spoke about our future expectations for relationships, marriage and careers. Before I knew it, I think I fell in love with him just outside Harrismith somewhere, and I didn’t want the drive to end. Throughout the weekend my mom teased me about having a faraway look in my eye, and I didn’t realise it then but I pretty much spent the weekend waiting for Jon to pick me up again to go back to Joburg. By the time he dropped me off, I’d decided that he would be my boyfriend.