Monday, January 17, 2005

Dinner with Friends

Last night I shared a drink and dinner with an old friend. We approached each other as one approaches a lost child; deliberate, careful and almost apprehensively. An embrace and how’ve you beens followed by the awkward silence that generally occurs on a first date. It felt like a blind date. Each of us not knowing the other anymore, trying to get 8 years of information in the answer to “so what’s new?”
There was the obvious. Marriage, jobs, work, pets. And then of course the memories. It always both amuses and annoys me that when I get together with someone I haven’t seen in years we always go back to the old staple of “hey remember when”s. Remember our trip to Florida? Remember when we went swimming with all our clothes on in the rain just because we were already soaked? Remember that party we had at your house where I almost broke my leg from falling down the stairs because I was laughing so hard?
Remember when I broke your heart?
Oh wait. We don’t talk about that.
We ordered our drinks hurriedly. Everyone knows a little alcohol always makes a situation more comfortable. Took time in ordering our food, looking over the menu, discussing options, feeling relieved that silence is always somehow more comfortable when you're deciding on your order. It’s not that I don’t have something worthwhile and entertaining to say, it’s that I’m reading about the food. Riiiiight.As the evening progressed so did our comfort level. I laughed more easily at his jokes. He told better jokes. Aside from the occasional hand bump, everything magically transformed from uncomfortable to familiar. I had to bite my tongue. To resist my urge to know everything. To ask “so why did you want to see me so badly?” To question why he was never honest with me about his feelings years back. Why did he cut off our friendship so suddenly?
I didn’t ask these questions because I already know the answers. This person that I hurt years ago was now sitting in front me. Complete, successful... happy. And to try to make someone remember their old feelings is wrong. Especially when you know you don’t share them. So instead I listened to the stories of his life: post-Kellie. His marriage, his career, his wife’s career, his cat. I shared my own stories. My move to DC, to North Carolina, when Josh proposed. To share these high lights from our lives in a few hours was refreshing.
Afterward we said goodbye. Complete with a less awkward hug. Talk to you. Keep in touch. Who knows if we will. Most of me knows we won’t, it’s just you say to old friends. But the bigger relief is to easily call him an old friend now, and him call me the same.
posted by Kellie @ 7:35 PM |

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