During the week that followed, Andy and I spent every spare moment we had getting to know one another. We struggled getting an internet phone program to work so that we could actually talk to one another and failed miserably.
Determined to be able to engage in real dialog, we opted for the telephone. I made the first call since it was cheaper to call overseas from the U.S. than vice versa.
When I first heard his voice, I was slightly surprised as I thought it would have been deeper. I was neither disappointed nor delighted about it. It was just one of those things I observed and noted to myself as an unexpected.
Prior to this phone call, Andy and I had commented many times on our ability to engage in very fun and interesting conversation. It seemed to just flow between us. I had often wondered if we were able to do this because we felt safe in the anonymous world of the interenet.
What I discovered while Andy and I were connected in live conversation was that we fell right into that same type dialog without ever skipping a beat. We talked about everything we could think of and then some. We just seemed to click.
I learned that he lived alone with his two boys, Boris and Yannick....two 6-month old kittens that he had gallantly rescued from the SPCA and named after the famous tennis players they reminded him of. This meant that I was conversing with a fellow cat lover.
I also learned that he had been married eight years and was recently divorced. The positive side of this, aside from his availability, was that his previous wife was American. It underscored Andy's openness to the qualities an American can bring into his life.
He had already sent me a photo of himself playing tennis on a court in the Dordogne. His dark sweaty hair was kept in check by a sweatband and he had a look of concentration on his face as he waited for his opponent to play the ball. I pulled up the photograph while we spoke and began to study it very closely.
From it, I saw a regular guy; meaning someone who really looked and acted normal. And the conversation I was engaging in with him enforced this perception I had developed from observing the photo. I felt like a school girl talking to him and I loved it.
After an hour of gabbing and laughing and flirting with one another, we reluctantly ended our conversation and reconvened the computer.
It was obvious at this point that this wasn't enough, we weren't satisfied. Phone calls are nice, engaging in conversation over the computer is nice but we wanted to know if we could carry on this way in person.
I don't recall how it came about but I do remember making the statement that I perceived a vacation to Europe on the horizon. He picked up on that immediately and said April would be a good month (only a month or two away). Things at work were pretty unsettling for me and I had no idea where I would be from one day to the next, though I knew my days there were numbered. So, a trip to Europe wasn't that far fetched an idea. I began to entertain the idea and Andy, true to form, fueled it.
Originally I had just planned on coming to England to visit him. As we discussed the possibility of my even coming over, it turned into a vacation both of us would take to France.