Walking into the airport VFW Hall ushered me into a confrontation with age: faces appeared from all over to the country to reconvene again as alumni celebrating a 25 year high school class reunion. These faces were lined, fuller, interesting, inquisitive.
We stared searching for evaporated years, inquiring, collapsing the time from our joint starting gate to the present. How many children? What are you doing now? Where are you living?
I stared at my best friends from basketball, student council, band, church. Why didn't we stay in touch? I silently ask. Why did I go through a tough spell quite alone? What happened during those years to me? What have you suffered too? What have you celebrated? When will you disappear again? It was wonderful to hug them and remember, yet it made me somewhat tired and melancholy.
We arise in our different plots, set apart now, once blooming and fading together, now in another perennial bed. Rising, blooming, and falling around other forms. It's as it should be, yet the loss hits me somewhat because those friends were the early safe giggling smart loved ones. We tripped and skipped and laughed together as small town youth. We have many solid memories of equal superficiality and depth.
When I saw their faces this weekend, they were the same, but we had traveled far apart, keeping with us the memories, but inevitably replacing each other. I know that's the way the world works, but I'm sentimental and feel loss.
Yet, I have pictures of us in the year 2007 arm-in-arm. Still holding on. Still moving forward. Still planted together by virtue of the gazebo-ed Square, the long maroon building, the choices of our parents and God to plunk us in that soil, that grouping, that cycle. That infamous class of 1982.
It's the strangest thing to think about: those who are granted to be our side compansions. It never ceases to amaze me regarding its purpose.
May my old friends be blessed and safe until we meet again.