The Big Chill and Old Friends

An old friend passed away this week, someone I had not seen in over twenty years. I don’t pretend to know what happened to her during the last decades, but she made a difference in my life and it makes me sad to know she is gone from this world.

I remember her shining and  beautiful and bursting with hope and life. She was smart and kind. In my mind she will always be twenty and tan, on the beach and turning every head. She was beautiful and didn’t know it, a rarity in every way.

I feel a certain wistfulness, looking back at friends I’ve loved and lost. Those who were important, central, even, in my life, who drifted away because that’s what time and this world do to us. We change, we grow, and often we grow apart. It’s inevitable and not something to rage at. Still…

The fierce friendship of youth leaves an indellible imprint upon us, because we know we’ll never have friends like that again. When you are seventeen, unfettered by failure or responsebility, friends are the most important thing in the world. The future stretches long into the horizon, dancing with possibility, and Friday night is but the starting line.  Living in the moment with the certainty that tomorrow will be just as grand.

It’s magic and tragic how life propels us into the undiscovered country, where we often forget who we were, who we should be, and even who we are. If we are not surrounded by friends and family, it’s easy to stay lost. I know, because I spent time wandering out there in the lonely.

Today I’ll pick up the phone and talk to some old friends and pull my children and my wife close. Life is short.


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