Once we were standing still in time
Chasing the fantasies
That filled our minds.....Theme from Mahogany
I cannot remember the last time I got home after 2am- until this past weekend. I know it will not happen again for a long time. It brought me back to the times when 2am was the hour we may be switching clubs, or switching from clubs to bars or vice versa with a few hours still to go before a trek to some place that served burgers deluxe, the much needed grease to absorb the alcohol. Those dancing days are over but I will say I did enjoy seeing New York, very much awake, as if it was 2 pm not 2 am last Saturday night.
I spent the night with friends from grammar, now called middle school at some point called junior high, school. It was not an official reunion just a nicely planned evening with people who I have seen only on Facebook, with one exception, in the last ...ehem in 32 years. Wow it is as daunting looking on paper as it is when you say it.
Thirty- two years - nope doesn't look any better written that way either- is a very long time by any account. I do not feel old, though I know this may shock you who are my age - we are middle aged (even with extended life expectancy), nor do I feel as mature as my parents and their friends were at this age with their lives stressed in ways ours are not (like their immigration to the US) and others that don't change (how we feel about our children and how to help them be the best people they can be). Yet 32 years is a long time to know someone. I have to admit there was a little trepidation on my end. I had reconnected in person with one of the people coming but the others I last had seen as we marched down the aisle to get our diplomas from 8th grade. We chatted on FB but would that be enough or would there be those really awkward pauses where we would all be looking around and thinking of the best excuse to end the torture?
We chose a bowling alley in the city, overpriced drinks and lanes but great music, and as we met up I think the first thing I noticed was that I did not feel as if I was meeting someone for the first time, changing from trepidation to excitement. It turns out that most of us looked pretty much the same, ok more gray hair here and there - or better dye jobs (yep that would be me), the extra pound or two and certainly some height on the guys, but over all we looked the same (and we all agreed on who didn't). We joked that maybe we were the oldest looking 8th graders ever or really we just somehow haven't aged in the way that would mark us so much that we would not recognize one another. These had been close friendships, for 8th grade anyway, and a bond that survived lack of actual meetings or virtual interactions (yes Virginia we were around before the internet). These connections had morphed though from the kids in those relationships, who no longer existed, to the adults who had replaced them.
We were at ease, laughed at ourselves as we exchanged medical tips - far cry from hearing the boys talk about comic books (ok so we talked super heroes too) and us girls about General Hospital - and danced until much too late. There was encouragement and laughter at my inability to bowl (perfect gutter ball queen that I am) and memories made to add to those of games of Twister and spin the bottle from the past (or spin the Maalox as we said would be more appropriate at this point in our lives - your Depends or mine?). Four of us, we tried to get the fifth but he chose to continue the evening enjoying the town, who had spent a lot of time together back then, decided to go to a diner where we talked about music, clubbing, our lives (so what have you been doing for the past 31 years?), politics and our parents with their quaint accents and judgements on the world around them. We had last seen each other as foursome when time seemed to drag by and here we were now as a foursome talking about how fast it had seemed to speed us along. Our 8th grade graduation song had been the "Theme from Mahogany" and I know we all in some ways really asked our selves at 13 "do you know where you are going to ? do you like the things that life is showing you? where are you going to ? do you know?", none of us could have really seen ourselves then at this age today - but I was glad that these people had been a part of my journey then and now. Though the hour got late, our plates cleared, among the 4 of us none of us wanted to be the first to leave (there's a song lyric in there).
I got home, bit more tired than I would have been - oh ok lots more tired - in my 20s after such a night but with a smile on my lips. I had a great time, felt we all did, in the ease of these old friendships. I look forward to catching up with all of the on the shuffle board court, with kids/careers/life who knows when we will do this again - I mean it did take us 32 years to get this bowling date (thank you Mark Z) - but when we do I know we will be happy to see one another, and pick up just like we did last night after all those years.
There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall .....Lennon/McCartney