The Conversation Begins

Post by Ruth
Annotated by Megan


The first time I met Megan, she was stepping off the plane to live with me for a month. The plan was for her to get a temp job here in Minneapolis, and to act in a play I co-wrote.

We’d never even spoken on the phone.

Kids, don’t try this at home.

I knew I was supposed to be scared she was a serial killer or something, but I just couldn’t be. Between our email and AIM correspondence, millions of words had passed between us already. If you printed them all out, double sided in 10 pt font, we’d still probably end up de-foresting Guam.

Heh. It’s true – we knew each other’s written voices intimately. Also, it would have been hard to fake that level of commitment to Harry Potter for that length of time. I did have a moment, right before I got off the airplane in Minneapolis, when I thought “I’m insane. You don’t fly to another state to live with a person you’ve never met. My life will soon boil down to a cautionary tale.” But my guts knew better.

Months before, sitting at my desk at Wells Fargo “Corporate Development” aka “The Land Pirates,”  I surfed for decent Harry Potter stories. This was before the days of specialized or curated archives, so it was sort of like dumpster diving, or panning for gold. I clicked on one called “Sine Qua Non”, which was already promising in a list of titles like “Harrys New Girlfriend” and “Hermy loves Harry”. It seemed to have been written for me. I loved it. I sent feedback to the writer, which I rarely ever did. She replied immediately.

As I recall, Ruth’s feedback ended with something like: “If you ever want me to beta read anything for you, let me know.” Luckily for me, she really meant it. Like, tens of thousands of pages over the course of twelve years, meant it.

That was all it took. We were insta-friends: just add Internet. No, better: kindred spirits. (And only kindred spirits immediately get that reference.) I was in Minneapolis, she was in New York, but our lives were running on parallel paths. I was building a small theatre company with my friends and she was auditioning and producing her own cabaret show. We were both redheads, in our twenties, both raised Catholic. Obviously we both loved Harry Potter. We both had day jobs that allowed us to spend a lot of time on our writing.

We never ran out of things to talk about. Our imaginations piled on top of each other. We talked out stories and annotated each other’s work.

Rather like this.

When my theatre company got into the annual Fringe Festival here, I invited her to be in the show.

I might have kind of invited myself.  And then Ruth was cool about it. 

Why not? If we were finally going to meet in person, a weekend could never be enough to talk it all out. Let’s make it count! Have an adventure!

Ruth’s play was called “Attack of the Atomic Trash Monster’s Bride”. Adventure was guaranteed.

So when I stood in the terminal with the sign, waiting to see her bright hair appear in the crowd, I tried to work up some last minute trepidation about sharing my apartment with a stranger for almost a month, but I couldn’t. Because she wasn’t a stranger. She hadn’t been before she even replied to that note on We were predestined, in the Green Gables Calvinism of friendship we both practiced.


And then we immediately got trapped in an airport elevator until the fire department showed up, which was oddly perfect.



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