Monday, June 03, 2013

...That Brilliant Display....

Upon reflection. 

A few years ago I disappointed a friend about something, like forgetting   about her wedding.  OK, it wasn’t nice. And truthfully, it just happened.... no drugs or alcohol were involved. There were so many weddings that summer/fall, it just slipped my mind. 

After the wedding she composed a letter to me which started,   “Thank you for your brilliant display of friendship....”   It was almost a half century ago and I still remember it.  It took her ten years and many miles to forgive me, but eventually she did.   Maybe. 

This weekend was my 45th college reunion. If you are asked how old I am, please decline to answer. It’s not that my age is embarrassing, it is unbelievable.  How did it happen, and so fast?  My grandfather used to tell us, in broken English, that life is like a train:  for the first half of your life you are on the Local, and then somehow, you change to the Express.  Lately, it is impossible to remember what month, day, or year it is. It is equally impossible to remember what is suppose to happen every day. They all meld together like a colorful abstract painting.

This is not meant to be a whiny blob, because my life is full, adventurous, sometimes exciting, but usually fun.  It helps to be surrounded and supported by people I love, and I am grateful for that. But that’s not what I wanted to blob about.  What I wanted to blob about was friendship, new and old.

I’m not going to talk about new friends in this blob, but I’ll get there sometime.

There are  people who you have known for 50 years.  If you see them once a year, it’s enough.  That is not a bad thing. You love to know they are fine, doing well, their kids are thriving, and enjoying whatever life they chose to live.  So many of my college friends studied one thing in school but their lives took a turn and they are doing something entirely different.  It’s interesting to find out how that happened and nice to catch up, learn about their families and even the difficulties. Although at reunions, you mostly brag about the good and skip right over the bad.  It is surface conversation. And it’s lovely.

Then there are people who you may not even speak to once a year.  But when you run into them, it’s like you saw them yesterday.  You still have stuff to talk about, and it often revolves around more important subjects, like who they love and who they lost, and had any of their dreams come true. You hang on to those relationships because you know that if you need to, you can turn to them (or they to you) in a crisis and it won’t feel like an intrusion. You knew one another as children and there is a special bond. 

Lastly, there are the people, who no matter how much time you spend apart or how infrequently you are in touch, they are a solid part of your life.  You watched them grow into the people they are. You know their families, their pain, their joy.  It would never occur to you to do something important in your life and not include them. When you are together you pick up any conversation, from where you left off, but over the years the conversation has grown and developed and become much more intimate.  You might start by talking about things that happened in the past, but you move right into the present and the future.  It’s never boring, and surprisingly, no matter how long you’ve known them, it’s never the same.

The wonder of reunions is that you remember how precious and probably tenuous these connections can be. And you know that no matter the kind of friend they have become, you never ever want anyone of them to start a letter or email to you with, “Thank you for your brilliant display of friendship...”    We’re just sayin’…. Iris

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