I gave up on finding my soul mate after a failed marriage and a few bad decisions more commonly called relationships. Love and relationships left me jaded and somewhat cynical, so the idea that there is that one person out there that can make your soul sing or that there is that one person who is the perfect fit for you was preposterous to me.
Now you might think that this is a love story. A story about how I found my life long partner and how we are blissfully on the road to our happily ever after. It is in a manner, but nothing like you might be accustomed.
I met Sesa on a 9-hour road trip from Bangkok to Laos. It was not ‘love’ at first sight but rather a tangled mess of preconceived notions, misinterpretations and total confusion of intentions. At first glance, I thought Sesa was Japanese and that she could not speak a word of English. She thought I was a bombastic attention seeker desperate for friends. The truth, we found out later, is that she is from Siberia and speaks perfect English, she just prefers to be quiet and observe her surroundings. I am certainly not bombastic – chatty yes and I won’t go so far as to call myself an extrovert, but I do enjoy a good, intelligent conversation and to meet new people.
Sesa and I did not exchange much in the way of pleasantries or conversation in that 9 hours we spent on the road. I prefer to sleep and listen to music on long journeys, and she prefers to do the same. When we got to Laos, we got caught up in the task at hand, which was to get a 6-month tourist visa to further our stay in Thailand. Once we got that done, we and everyone else were far too tired and grumpy to engage in any conversation. We all stumbled to our rooms; showered, slept and rested weary bones.
To say that the hotel we stayed in was ‘nice’ is a bit of an overstatement. And every time we have returned there since, it has just steadily gotten worse. It is a ramshackle dinosaur desperately trying to cling to the last vestiges of grandeur it might have had some 50 years ago or more. The only way you can have a peaceful night’s sleep is when you are either dead tired or drunk. On arrival we were the first; later that evening we were uproariously the latter.
Rested and refreshed, all travelers slowly emerged from their rooms, and we started forming a little band of travelers in the lobby sharing travel stories, Thailand experiences, beers, cigarettes and all sorts of little snippets of life on the road. People from different corners of the globe, who speak different languages but all finding commonality in the lifestyle of the traveler. It was then that I started talking to Sesa and as it turned out, we had much in common. We echoed each other’s thought, sentiments, and narratives on life, love, and everything else. Needless to say, a trip that started out dull and uneventful quickly took a turn for the better. We continued drinking, talking and laughing till the wee hours of the morning. She was excellent company, and I found myself liking her very much, as well as enjoying her company tremendously.
The next day was a dreaded 9-hour return journey to Bangkok, but again all the way Sesa and I had minimal contact; sleep, and hangover recovery were the primary objectives on that return trip. At the end of the trip, we said our goodbyes and promised to keep in touch. I left her company not expecting that to happen. But true to her word she did keep in touch and a reunion meet up was quickly planned. Since then we have not gone one day without speaking, we have not gone longer than three days of not seeing each other.
That was how I met my soul mate, the most important person in my life and how a girl from Siberia and a girl from South Africa became the very best of friends. Sesa is my confidant, best friend and in every sense of the term, my soul mate. It is the strongest friendship I have ever had, and I cannot imagine my life without her. No, we are not lovers as some of you might try to guess but rather genuine, real friends. Typically what we look for or need from lovers and partners, Sesa has provided without request and conditions. There is a 20 year age difference between us, but it matters little. She keeps me young, and I ground her. We laugh together, cry together, calm each other, support each other, we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and fans, as well as each other’s sternest critics. We do not fear each other’s honesty, and we do not shy away from sharing our brand of honesty with each other. And no it is not all sunshine and roses, we have had some major disagreements. However, it doesn’t take a long time before we are apologizing – whether we are right or wrong – laughing, crying and reminding each other what absolute idiots we are. We recognize each other’s differences and embrace them.
We have both since our Laos trip decided to make Bangkok our temporary home. And we are blissfully happy. We are actively pursuing our dreams and ambitions, we have found and lost loves, and through all of the ups and down, through the thick and thin and sometimes through the sick and sin, we have unwaveringly been there for each other. We are acutely aware that there will come a time when we are no longer going to be living in the same city of even in the same time zone. But for now, we don’t focus on that; we just relish the time together and the time when we can be close enough to run to each other’s aid when it is needed.
Loneliness and being alone does not have to be anyone’s curse or burden. My relationship and friendship with Sesa have proved to me that once you give up on your preconceived notions of what love, relationships, and soul mates are, you open yourself up to the world of possibilities for all of that and happiness is within anyone’s grasp. A soul mate is a person that is ideally suited to you, and that is what I have found in my crazy, lovable, fumbling Russian. I know my life will not be the same without her.