I always encourage my friends to visit. I like having visitors and I think it’s even more important to do so here in such a small town. Nik, my predecessor, told me that he never got many visitors to Saroma. This left me less than optimistic about friends visiting me, here in this far-flung remnant of empire, this village isolated from all but the rare fishing boat or mining expedition, where humans struggle against nature’s cruel chorus, their pitiful dwellings windswept and beaten from a hundred angry winters and their meager chattel at the mercy of gaunt, desperate vermin – a forsaken crag of hubris built upon the very precipice of earthly existence, unto which only the forlorn souls of broken men venture forth.
Wait, I think I’m talking about Russia, a little further north.
Saroma is actually quite accessible, with well-maintained roads, punctual trains and affordable air connections. It’s still a little far away from happenin’ Tokyo and hip Sapporo, and that’s why I consider myself lucky to have received numerous drop-ins over the 19 months I have lived here: Hannah and Yoshi; Ilkka and Petri; Natsuko; Remmington; Jon; Roxy and Daisy, and two weeks ago, Mike and Alissa.
I’ve known Mike and Alissa for about as long as I’ve been able to sentiently know other beings. Alissa and I were consistent and reliable line leaders in Mrs. Butler’s 2nd grade class at Swanson Elementary. Mike and I created several award-winning high school video masterpieces.