Saturday, January 19, 2013

Back in the Saddle . . . Maybe

Here I am, back, out of the blue. I've thought about doing it for weeks but got bogged down with wondering how I would explain why I haven't been posting, so I finally decided that I just wouldn't. Explain, that is. You'll just have to use your imaginations. I will say that nothing bad happened; I may have just needed a break.

Now the big question, what to write about. A lot has happened in the past few months, not just to me but to our nation. At some point I am going to write about how we are letting paranoia affect our lives, but right now, I'm going to write about something that recently happened to me. 

On a Sunday evening, about two weeks ago, our phone rang. Neither Scott or I recognized the caller ID, so we let it go to the answering machine. When the caller started talking, identifying herself, at first I was stunned. I mean, literally, mouth open, frozen in my tracks, stunned. I was holding my breath. Then my brain started to scream, "Answer the phone before she hangs up," and I did. The voice was one I had not heard in about 38 years -- my best friend from high school. She wasn't certain she had the right person; I'm babbling on the other end, "It's me, it's me." And then we laughed, and, when we laughed, I heard her. Gone were years of aging, hard times, disappointments and living with the consequences of the abuses and neglect we inflicted on ourselves. We were here in the photo, 1974-75, senior year as the Editor and Assistant Editor of the Gander Gazette, our high school newspaper. That's me, third from the right, and her, on my right, me wearing a trench coat and her a  hat, both chomping on cigars. This was our staff parody of hard-bitten newspaper men and women, although that guy on the far left looks more like a pimp. From what I remember, he acted more like a pimp (that coat was velvet,) but I digress.

That's our teacher on the far right end. It turns out that she was the reason my friend started looking for me. The teacher, Linda, had run into my friend's brother and asked about her. He gave Linda her contact information and she called. It turns out that she (Linda) left teaching and went to work for the State Department and has been with them for 30 years, living and working all over the world. During their conversation Linda asked about me and my friend told her we had lost touch right out of school. (Am I the only person who feels weird calling their teacher by her first name? I am trying to be adult about this.) That started my friend thinking and she went on a search for me, resulting in the phone call.

Now the reason I was so stunned by the call is that ever since I learned about Google, et al, I have repeatedly searched for her. I've kept up with one or two of my high school friends, but they had no news of her either, other than they thought she worked for Exxon after college. So when I heard that it was her on the phone, my old sentimental heart was bursting. I wanted to cry, but instead, I laughed. We both did. We laughed and talked, just like the years since we last did had not passed.

We talked about everything -- the obligatory "this is what has happened to me since I last saw you," politics, dogs, sex, the "old days" -- everything. We talked and laughed for over three hours, until our voices started giving out. Then we emailed and talked again this week. I'm planning to visit her in the next month or two so that we can reconnect even stronger. We hope to include the guy whose head is between the two of us in the photo. He was along for many of our adventures and was as excited as I was to hear that I had talked to her. 

I've thought about her every day since her first call. My internal soundtrack is running songs and movies from the 70's. She was a fabulous musician and her instrument was the flute. She was first chair, not only in our band, but in State competition. I can close my eyes and see her on stage. Scenes of other things we did keep flashing into memory. Our town opened its first Chinese restaurant while we were in school. I had never been to one before, but she had. We tried it out and she ordered egg rolls and because I didn't know anything on the menu, so did I.  In the years since then, every time I have eaten an egg roll, I have thought of her. We laughed about that, too. Turns out we both think Asian is our favorite ethnic food.

This whole experience has been so large for me that I had to just sit and think about it for a week or so before I could even begin to write about it. I had to wrap my head around narrowing it down to one blog; one that didn't sound like the ramblings of someone with dementia. I'm trying to keep my expectations about our future friendship in control, but it's hard. My head tells me, "Many years have passed. You are different people. Don't expect too much or you may be disappointed." But my heart knows that we were "friends of the bosom" in those days and I don't think that much has changed. 

I'll keep you posted on our progress and will also try to stay on the writing horse with other subjects. Either way, thanks for stopping by again.  

1 comment:

  1. What a great story! I know what kind of friend you are, so I have no doubt she'll be as happy to have you in her life as I am to have you in mine. Can't wait to read the next chapter.

    P.S. So glad you're writing again.