8:38 PM, Wednesday, December 16th, 2009:
"Who is that goofy guy with the santa hat?" Laura wondered as she strained to focus.
"That can't possibly be... no, it is. That's Adam."
It had been well over 10 years, but it seemed hardly surprising that they'd meet again in an airport in Chicago. Their relationship had always borrowed from different movie scripts, so "When Harry Met Sally" seemed about right.
She walked closer, now confident it was him and didn't need to say a word before he turned to look at her and immediately turned his head and closed his eyes. She could only imagine what he must be thinking. She had the advantage of being able to peek in on his life over the past decade because of his video blog -- he had no such access. He mouthed "wha" repeatedly as he stood up, until finally a coherrent sentence formed...
"Of course you're on this flight." he said as deadpanned as she remembered his humor.
They embraced and started the small talk which quickly moved to the birth of her first child earlier this year. Adam knew of the baby from an email from her in April. It was their first correspondence since a small three sentence email he received when she left Pat in 2007:
So.. thought you'd might find this interesting. After 12 years, I finally did it. This is just to let you know that your words weren't forgotten, they just took a long time to register.
She remarried quickly and had her baby in April. She never ceased to tell him what his words from 1998 meant to her, but he never stopped feeling guilty that his interference may have kept her involved with Patrick for a few too many years.
"You can't possibly have just had a baby a few months ago!" He proclaimed as he noticed her identical figure.
"Thank you..." she smiled.
"Do you have any pictures?"
She went to grab her iphone and Adam had a moment to catch his breath. Pride. So, so, so proud that this woman had a great position at the bank she worked at, had a beautiful family, and was everything he knew she could be when he met her all those years ago. When she returned with the iphone he noticed how badly her hands were shaking as she flicked through the pictures. God how he remembered those endearing nerves. It really was her. Palaur, the mythical name that since spawned his entire video blog, was right there and it was as if not a moment had passed...
...but of course several moments had. He smiled at the pictures of her family and they sat down and tried to piece together the last decade. What finally made her leave him was heart-wrenching to Adam as the stories of Pat's utter inability to consider her feelings could've been ripped from the pages of Palaur. He never changed. It just wasn't "in him" as he wrote in so many songs from the period.
When the story shifted to Adam's life, it was one heartbreak after another. He tried to explain how he felt he was a positive influence on every woman he met... but as he explained it through her eyes, he felt slightly pathetic. It certainly wasn't the life he envisioned when they knew each other before. Even the career successes were followed by heartbreaks more devastating than the last and summing it up in a few minutes couldn't help but be depressing.
But Palaur was really never about Adam. You always knew he'd be fine. He followed his heart and had the talent and work ethic to make it through any pitfalls his romantic spirit might lead him into. Laura was the one that seemed stuck. Laura had potential for so much more, but simply didn't have the support to make the decisions she needed to at the time. Now however, the story comes full circle. An incredibly considerate and loving husband who is in every sense a partner. She beemed as she spoke of him. She reveled in just how "easy" the relationship was. And as they passed an hour talking, Adam realized she was actually inspiring him. He was actually stunned at how she described their relationship. He found himself thinking:  "Jesus, this actually happens?".
On the plane they were too far apart to talk and it was such a crammed little commuter jobbie that it was difficult to even switch seats. For the hour-long flight to Columbus, it never left his mind. The top of that head back there was Palaur. A woman that inadvertently started "The Journey" when he couldn't figure out how to release the material their 9 1/2 week romance produced. The journal entries, the songs, the videos, the in-studio radio clips, the instant messages. Incredibly the last time he saw her was November 3rd, 1998 -- the night he thought of the concept of 4tvs which would push him to start The Journey to LA a year later.
Adam knew this was "Entry-Worthy" but that also meant a video and he wanted to respect her privacy. So as they walked off the plane, he took out his pocket camera and simply turned it on. He wasn't going to use the conversation, but he knew he needed something -- however abstract -- to document the moment. As they walked they both joked about the scene in "When Harry Met Sally" where the two were on the conveyor belt having a conversation about being friends. Adam and Laura already knew the answer to this, and it was an emphatic "of course not". Hell, the only way they could have even met long enough to catch up was something this random as making an actual date could never have been rationalized. No, this was exactly as it should be. Should we expect anything less from Palaur? Even the sequel?
They hugged one last time and she was off to relieve her husband from "sick baby" duty while she was on the business trip. Adam turned the camera, already running, toward her as she walked away. When he loaded the footage, it literally took his breath away...
A shot of her wedding ring so obvious you'd swear it was planned. Nothing he could've captured in his camera would have had the power of that shot. Literally the symbol of Palaur. A symbol that a decade before caused sleepless nights, untold heartache and guilt for years. It was now a source of pride for both of them.
Sometimes there is a fairy-tale ending... just not how you would've written it in your 20s.
Thank God.