I met him in the summertime, through a friend. We didn't know each other, but his presence was warm and sincere. He talked like a waterfall, till he suddenly left with only a wave for goodbye. It was getting late, and as I walked home along the harbor, I sat down on a bench and almost fell asleep. When I opened my eyes again, a seal was looking out for me from the clear water. We were both shy, but as I walked home, I felt safe. I’d like to tell you that the seal followed me along, but obviously, it didn’t. I’m not a Disney princess.
The day after the waterfall went back home for a visit. I thought he might as well have gone to Neverland, as I had no idea what or where his home was, and I had never ever imagined going there myself. Just the sound of it was impressive. Not to mention brown sympathetic eyes and a husky voice.
When I finally met him again, it was at a holy mass. We both ignored that it was in Spanish. Neither of us understood any of the holy words echoing through the colossal church room. As I had never been at a holy mass before, I tried my best to follow when the rest went down on their knees and stood up several times during the next hour. After the mass, we were talking about everything and nothing for hours. His tender warmth was drawing me in. He told me about his band, back in Neverland and when I asked him if I could hear some of this music, he said, without a trace of arrogance, “Google me.”
And I did.
A week before Christmas he called me. They had found a mouse, and we should get a kitten to protect the house from such intruders. The kitten was all worth the drive. It was a standard kitten, grey stripes, black nose, green eyes, and little triangular ears.
“What is his name?” I asked.
“Tom,” he answered without hesitation, and thereby the kitten had a name.
When he moved back to stay in Neverland for good, I came to visit him a few couples of times. I saw magic in a country so different from my own. The first time I traveled to Neverland, I flew with the drummer of his band, who was coincidentally traveling the same day as I. We got on the airplane, and when the stewardess started talking in the microphone, the drummer took off his sweater, draped it around his head and fell asleep immediately.
For minutes I was holding back the hysterical laughter. I had the window seat, and when I was finally calmed, I collected myself to look out of the window. For the next two hours, I was looking down at the passing land in anticipation. What was it going to be like? Did I even remember his face anymore? And what would his home be like?
“Ready?” The drummer asked when we had gone through the passport control. I nodded, and he picked up his bag pack.
“Do you even have anything in that bag?” I asked, trying to sound relaxed.
“Yes, I have a pair of drumsticks and my phone charger.”
We went through the doors. I don’t remember what the moment was like. I’m sure I was happy, and he must have been as well. He took my cold hand in his. The bass player was with him, and the four of us left the airport and squeezed into the little green car in the parking lot.
The drummer in the passenger seat said, “You can’t leave just yet, let’s go to Atelier!” He was talking to the rhythm of his own drumming. He was like a hyperactive Labrador.
“Why not,” I said and shrugged.
A calmness fell over me, as I was sitting in the green car, even though I was far away from home, I knew, I was home.
The Labrador almost jumped out of his seat. It turned out that atelier was a bar, where the interior was made from cardboard. It was full of people, music and good vibes. We stayed for a couple of hours, until we left the drummer and the bass player, to go home.
The first morning his mother was sitting in the kitchen with her bag against the big warm fire oven. The kitchen was warm and cozy. Before you could count to ten breakfast was on the table. More than I could ever ask for and still the question, "anything you need?" lingering in the air.
When we were eating breakfast, the mother told me that her children were born into a free land. She told me about academics being sentenced for random reasons, just to get them out of the way. The grandmother who was living in the house with them lost her husband that way. For sixteen years she didn’t know where he was. Dead or alive. When he finally came back, he was broken. She told me that they had to move heavy stones every day in the mountains. These people were too enlightened and consequently a threat to the system.
I learned a lot from my times in Neverland, about languages, history, and religions. The people could be Hungarian, Romanian, German or any other kind. All kinds of different religions, cultures, and languages met, but in the end, despite all it seemed, the people had decided just to be human. They all wanted to teach me as many words as possible in their language and cheered when I tasted their words.
The most devastating was always to leave. I wanted to stay, but I never did. The flights would leave early in the morning, and we went on the night train to the airport. He would follow me, even though I told him every time that it wasn’t necessary, when we got off the train, we followed the rails to the small airport. He held my hand till the last minute when I jumped in the security line. He was looking at me, till he couldn’t see me anymore. I thought I would always come back, because I had a new family, and someday, maybe I will.