We had so much in common: I am a widow, he a widower; we each prefer soccer (known as football on six continents) over the violent game of the same name revered only on the seventh; and he enjoys a plant-based diet while I am steadily moving in that direction. When his second message came through, he revealed that he is an orthopedic surgeon on a United Nations contract to provide care in Libya, and that he has a 16 year old son attending boarding school in Atlanta. The third message from him was effusive in its praise of my situation caring for my father in his final years and contained some evangelical messages likening me to an angel.
My response was to throw cold water on the sermon but soak up the praise like an aloe vera plant in a warm annual rainstorm. The religious content stopped. On the second day, he mentioned his love of coffee and I shared my love of oolong. Turns out, he loves oolong but it is hard to get in Libya so he drinks coffee. On the third day, he mentioned that he has never had a friend like me, he will never jeopardize our friendship, and his son wants to meet me.
Whoa, I said.
Inside, though, my soul was singing! An orthopedic surgeon, interested in ME? It was meant to be – the stars aligned for him to randomly challenge me to a game of online scrabble. He already loves my cat, he wants to build a teaching hospital in San Francisco, and it worries him when I take too long to answer an email.
Whoa, I said again.
On the fourth day, he asked me to send him a $500.00 Amazon gift card. (No, I did not.)
From serendipity devolving to vanity and finally, dawning reality . . . the only tea I need is my toasty twisted oolong or a steaming mug of Assam.
Photo “Scrabble” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer David Martyn Hunt and is being posted unaltered (source)
Photo “Tea and Scrabble” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Andy Tyler and is being posted unaltered (source)