Saturday, July 30, 2005

of old friends and good nights

Tonight my ever-patient wife and kids took the night off from packing for China and went with me to a reunion of friends from a group I was a part of my senior year of high school. Seventeen years ago for those of you keeping score. Over the years I had seen most of these folks at one place or another, but we hadn't been together like this since school ended. It was a lot of fun and a lot of surreal. Seeing old flames and old sparks that never ignited with 2 or 3 kids will cause your head to spin a little.
Reunions are funny things. Mostly they are all about comparison. Who got fatter, balder, richer. Who had "work" done. Who made it. Who won't. Who is here looking for spouse #2 (or 3).
This wasn't like that at all. These were people who lived in a wierd kind of community for 9 months of our lives. Some days we spent 6-8 hours together. With that many hormones in such a close environment, conflict was inevitable, but most of it got dealt with and moving on felt easy most of the time. So many years later all of that is forgotten anyway. Tonight was about meeting spouses and families and spending some hours together remembering what has been and sharing what is. Even a little thinking about what might be.
In my mind I remember these people at 17-18 years old and seeing them jump ahead 17 years was a little wierd. It made me jump that far ahead too. We fell into the easy rhythms that we developed years ago and so much of it felt the same. Jokes, one-liners, stories, the shared histories of eternal indestructable teenageness. At the same time, there was a little bit of an edge to it now. We've grown up. Seen some things. It doesn't all work out. Jobs go. Marriages go. Health goes. Possibilities go. People go. It almost seemed like there was a whisper over everything reminding us that the intense perfection of 18 was a while ago.

It was a great night. It reminded me that these are the people I miss from the "good old days" and drove home again how much I suck at keeping in touch with people I want to. I'm sitting here now in a flood of memories, most of them wonderful. Even the not so great ones feel OK now. Years ago I was glad to call these people friends. Over the years of absence I have continued to think of them as such. It felt good tonight to know the truth of that.

waxing nostalgic.


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