Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Blank Page Everyday

Seeing how I cannot seem to bring myself to spend the time creating a new blog home, I guess I will continue writing here. That is, at least, for awhile.
Returning now, to where we once were:
The construct (which is a word I like a lot, by the way, after years of it being drilled into my head by literature professors) of the day I revisited my friend wasn’t much different than visits in the past. As in many friendships, I found myself calmly surrendering, moment by moment, so that the reunion could actually happen. Simple as it were, the conditions on how we were to meet up changed at the last minute. Unlike the rigid tendency of lasting relationships and others saturated with disappointment, I politely obliged. The point was, and as it should likely be in any friendship, to spend time  together. It’s hard to catch up on six years in just a couple hours. 
She couldn’t believe it had been six years, she said, as we hopped in the car to visit her eldest child’s school. A treat, I thought to see this girl who, herself, was six years old when I first met her. College is now just around the corner and I grappled with the very thought of that. Then, I had to pause and remember that I was 19 then, and I am certainly not 19 anymore.
“Let me just tell you,” she said as we pulled out of the driveway. That’s how the conversations begin. I listened for a few minutes, and also talked, about my own circumstance and how things had evolved over the past few years. Although, we both only really focused on recent months. The situations were different but the themes were the same: heartache, growth, discovery, and hope. When is it really ever different?
“I am so tired,” she was saying. It sounded so familiar.
Ten, maybe eleven, years earlier I remember driving East on a freeway in very similar, but not so similar, circumstances. We intended to spend time together, but the course of the day changed, and I went along for errands and chores and what not. I went, just so what would normally be a forty-five minute to an hour visit could actually happen. It just took about three hours. 
Yes, I talked too. Just not as much as I used to.

         A blank page looks a lot like what a real friendship is, friendships of all kinds and varying degrees of time spent. 
Years earlier, as I previously discussed, my college roommate and I celebrated in denial of the discovery that we were friends. Yet, just because we had this very honest realization didn’t mean we suddenly understood it. Nor did it mean that it, this friendship (or any, for that matter), would be easy.
These two friendships are entirely different but incredibly parallel. I was discovering one as I was discovering the other, and it hurt the growth of both.
I think I was in denial of that, too.
“You’re never home,” or something to that effect, said my college roommate to me on the cell phone as I was driving home from my other friend’s house. I was never home because I was either at school, like she was, or at work part time, or babysitting. It was true I was hardly ever home. Then, when that phone call was made, I didn’t understand or feel the emotional significance of that statement. Looking back, it has a deep meaning when I recall being the one who used to fetch ice cream for bad days and stay up all night laughing and giggling when things were funny. It is true, I did not have time, nor did I make time, for that anymore. 
There’s no use on wasting time on guilt, nor do I have any regrets. I just thank God I have both these friends today. 
You get a blank page with real friendships. You get a blank page everyday. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Discovery Begins with Denial

When I started this blog, I didn’t think there would be such long periods of time in-between one post and another. Yet, I certainly didn’t think I would write everyday either.

I’ve thought about writing a few times since the first of the year, but thought I had promised to start over.

 Starting over, it seemed at the time, involves an entirely new creative process. I thought, how can I start over if I don’t have a new blog title, a new purpose, and actually help people? That is the goal, after all.

 Most writers don’t spend time penning something just because they have a story inside them that is burgeoning and begging to be told. They end up writing that story because they believe it will help someone.

            Six years and a lifetime of experience later, I found myself at the doorstep of a home that once represented everything I had hoped for. Before ringing the bell, or knocking, I looked around at a landscape that had mostly stayed the same.

            Calm, and completely composed, I rang the bell. Then, I turned and looked out at the view, remembering years ago telling a friend, “I can see my parents’ house from here.”

            I continued gazing out into the past, as it were, and wondered how many dreams had come true since I last visited; how many dreams shattered.

            When the door opened, I found myself 19 again, but much more confident. I was visiting a former colleague, who at one point had been the person who initiated a catalyst of change in my professional life. It was her husband who answered the door.  In the few moments we stood there talking, filling years of time with quips about the business and personal goals, this long-awaited reunion felt nothing like what happens in the movies. Perhaps the most significant marker of time passing was in the age of their children, and the great height one of them now stood. Where was that little girl I used to baby-sit, I wondered.

            My friend came downstairs and in a moment, what felt like six years felt like six minutes and a lifetime in the same moment. Unlike some of my closest friendships (and even the ones you know you are supposed to keep up), we didn’t pick up right where we left off, but we did.  

            “It hasn’t been six years,” she exclaimed. I confirmed, with proper memory and data to back it up. “No way!”  

            Denial seems to be the first indication that two people were ever friends to begin with.

            I remember, years earlier, around the time I first met my friend, I was having dinner with my college roommate and her mother. I think it was Mother’s Day weekend of freshman year. That second semester, she and I had every single class – but one, together. I don’t remember what we were eating, or where we went to eat, but I do remember what I was wearing. I remember, because we took a picture that night upon a moment of discovery (or, at least I think we did).

            My college roommate’s mom said, “Oh, you guys are friends.” The two of us looked at each other, shrugged, kind of in shock, and denied it. I remember the awareness of that fact, and not the circumstances surrounding it, like it was yesterday.

            Discovery begins with denial.


            I’m going to let that stew for a bit.
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