Sunday, June 05, 2011

Old friends

L thinks it's been thirty years since we've seen each other, but I think it's been no more than twenty-nine. It was 1982 when he graduated from Torrey Pines High School and I headed off to school in New Mexico. But in any case, it was time travel today when we sat down at Board-N-Brew (an old hangout of L's and one of Del Mar's few survivors from our time) and he asked for a five-minute report on the last thirty years. Even on my reckoning we had 58 years of life to cover between the two of us! It went quickly.

There's a way in which a friend from old - especially someone you've not been in touch with for nearly ever - provides a wonderfully reassuring anchor for the story of what's happened to you since with all its uncertainty. When it's not "who are you?" but "what have you been up to?" there's nothing to prove, only to share. Gaps, disappointments and loose ends can be acknowledged for what they are (pleasures and triumphs, too, of course!) when the point of departure is fixed in memory and affection.

(Am I imagining it or was Billy Joel's "Just the way you are" playing?)

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