A Birthday Story by Lizzi, posted from Cambodia
Thirty years ago today, give or take twelve hours, across oceans and some continents, a baby boy was born in a strange place called Texas. He came into the world wide-eyed and fair-skinned, and from the moment of his first cry, he was destined for great adventure. His parents called him Matt. Not long after Matt's birth, the parents added to their humble clan a brown-eyed, tan-skinned boy they called Tom, and together, Matt, Tom and their parents took on America, eventually returning to their hometown in Pennsylvania when the time was right.
The younger brother enjoyed the hometown, put down roots and made friends there. Though he circled round part of the American land, he might yet come back to that place of some of his fondest memories. He married a beautiful fair-haired girl from a neighboring town, and as I am telling you this story now, is presently set to become a man of letters, and people will travel far and wide to learn from him. He will no doubt be famous throughout the land for his thoughts and papers, which people will read for generations to come.
But Tom's story and Matt's story are different. While Matt had a strong fondness for the hometown, he longed to see the world and plant for himself the seed of adventure which his parents first sewed in him. He decided to dedicate himself to his country, in the hopes that his country would take him to other countries, albeit peacefully. But as with all good tales, his adventures were interrupted by a girl. The girl is called Lizzi, and though we are of the same name, I can honestly say that I am not acquainted with her at all. When Matt met Lizzi, he knew that his life's adventures were about to begin, and he learned that adventures could be had from the comfort of a living room, perhaps with the accompaniment of a few oversized cats. But the funny thing about love is that it turns both people on their head, and from an upside-down vantage point, things look awfully different. Suddenly, it was Lizzi who wanted to see the world, and she realized she would do anything for the boy she loved, not least because he made her laugh every single day, and what woman doesn't want to follow the sounds of her own giggle? So Matt dashed his longterm plans for the wild blue yonder, and set out for his greatest adventure yet: monogamy.
The adventure of adventures took them to far-off places, places which are also oceans and continents away from where I tell this tale. They lived in Oklahoma, Virginia, Maine, and Pennsylvania, and showed no signs of slowing down. Until one day, not that long ago, Lizzi devised a plan. "Let's go to Asia!" she said, and though Matt was initially nervous about the idea (he had, after all, grown quite used to those cats), he can't say no to the girl whose laughter makes him feel like he's won a prize, and so he said instead, "Yes, let's!" Which brings us, so conveniently, to today, oceans and continents away from everything they have known, in a place where people eat noodles for breakfast, where things that are ancient are so old that they can't even fathom, where, as it turns out, you cannot dig a very deep hole in the sand and get easily to the other side of the planet.
And today, dear readers, is a day of celebration and excitement! Which is why I'm telling this tale to you. It is a day to look into the sky, to seize your adventure, to make someone laugh! Because today is the very same day that Matt was born, and for Lizzi, if this wonderful day had never come to pass, well then some of her best adventures just wouldn't be worth having. It is also a day to think about the adventures of the future, both those that take place in a living room, and those that take place across oceans and continents. Because who knows what the next thirty years will bring? Except, of course, a lifetime of adventure.
Almost. Because there is one thing that my cheesy story doesn't yet have. And it is this: Happy Birthday Matt! Thank you for taking me on your adventures. Thank you for making me laugh, and for counting a day as a good day when you've made me laugh. Thank you for turning my world upside-down, for helping me to see all of the interesting things you can see when you stand on your head. And most of all, thank you for coming into my life, for showing me the world through your sea-colored eyes. I love you with all of my heart, and I love every day of our lifetime of adventure, even the days when the idea of eating noodles for breakfast make us both want to travel back across the oceans and the continents in an instant. Yes, even those days are an adventure with you, and I will gladly take them over any day without you.
All my love, Always