Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Wee-Morning Musings...
We met at our old haunt. A chain Italian restaurant with free bread and oil for dipping - perfect for cheap dates in college. Drink water, split a pizza - and keep the bread comin'.

Back then, we would drive together, piled in a heap of a car, pressed against windows, rubbing jacket sleeves, and buzzing about how many of the warm rolls we could stomach in a sitting.

Dinner tonight was different. It was arranged via cell phones and emails. Each couple arrived in their own car, from various locations - some from an hour's drive away. We gathered at a long rustic table, two baskets of rolls - to say goodbye to a friend leaving for the West Coast.

He rode around Europe with me - on that
trainride to Poland. Over the length of our journey, he mused about various poems and theater productions - a traveling theater company he hoped to start - scripts he planned to write.

We spent 150 hours, unbroken, together. He did the math when our travels ended, in the living room of a Romanian family's modest house. 150 hours of talking and silence. Of Polish madmen hucking Coke bottles from train windows and sleeping on stinky house boats. 150 hours of genuine, pure, unadulterated, friendship. When we finally parted ways, we knew each other deeply. Beyond words.

And even I couldn't have predicted this. My real life Peter Pan is engaged and moving to the opposite coast - to start an MBA program, of all things.

Another college friend got married this past weekend in Minnesota. She and I met in the haphazard flurry of Freshman year - the rush to accumulate friends - to not go to dinner alone. One of my first true friends from that life, one of my bridesmaids - and we missed her wedding because of a stack of bills - and that
breakdown a few weeks ago (best estimate thus far? $4,000. I hate cars.)

I've been mulling over the changes lately. How much we've grown. Changed. Moved. Georgia. Pennsylvania. California. Minnesota. The recent engagements. The upcoming babies. The weddings. The cross-country moves. The dispersing of my circle of friends as we spread throughout the country and sink deeper into the thick of our busy lives. No time for phone calls. Hardly anytime for emails anymore. No time to pile in a car and split pizza's. We're stretching to the point of fingertips on keyboards.

But, sitting tonight with a handful of us that remain local, time seemed to slow to a distant chug - hardly pulling us any further apart than we were five years ago. My Peter Pan sat across from me, his arm curved behind the chair of his fiancee, a wide smile on his face. He's neatly groomed - hair clean, cheeks shaved, shirt tucked. A polished and buffed model of the unkempt boy who travelled 150 hours with me. But his smile's the same. As is the sparkle behind his eyes. MBA? Maybe. But Peter Pan still lives.

And that gives me hope for myself. That somewhere, behind my tired eyes and beneath the rough skin on my knuckles (from a million or so scrubbings a day - post diapers, post feedings, etc,) despite layers of bland black shirts and straight-from-the-discount-rack jeans - somewhere beneath it all (the sleepy-mommy, the bedgraggled wife), there's still a glimmer of the girl with a sticker beside her eye, scuffed Doc Martin's, and a pair of patched pants - with a ticket to somewhere in her back pocket.

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13 Comments:

Blogger ~Deb said...

What a well written post! Very descriptive!

I used to get so frustrated watching my friendships turn from hanging out every other day, to just an email here & there. It's sad. People change, life itself changes, and it just continues to revolve.

I believe the most important thing to do is keep the invites flowing, always 'keep your door open', or let them know they're always welcome---when things are calmer.

I recently lost a good friend who got engrossed in her relationship. That's fine. I do miss her, but sometimes we just have to let them go and let fate follow. I sent an email wishing her well, and I always 'invite'--- so with that in mind--- let them know that you're still there. Surprise them and wear a red shirt. ;)

Great post!




P.S. You know, when I first started blogging, back in Augest, I came across your blog. I was in awe. Then I lost the url to it. Yesterday, as I was browsing around blogs, I found you again. I was happy to see you were still writing. Just had to let you know that. Weird, right? Anyway--- I'm done with my novella now! (ha)

Blogger ~Deb said...

*August* ;)

Blogger Marc said...

I really enjoyed reading your piece. You are an excellent writer!

Marco

Blogger Jacopo Belbo said...

Another great post Mella...

It often seems that college friends are the closest friends that you make in life and yet they do seem to spread out and change more than pre-college friends. It is always an interesting metamorphosis as they meet significant others, establish families, and change careers.

I really enjoyed this post.

Blogger mreddie said...

Memories are such an important part of life that just the writing of them can bring a rush of the past back into the now. You drew the word picture well. ec

Blogger Cpt- Dionysus said...

Niice words on the left... =) ... just passing through ... nice blog ...

Blogger Mella said...

~deb: Thanks so much - very sweet of you to let me know about your previous discovery of my blog. I'm not sure about the red shirt...but I have toyed with the idea of pulling some of my old butterfly stickers from the closet and wearing one beside my eye next time I'm out with those friends. (I'll have to find some college pictures to explain the sticker habit...)

And thank you Marco, Jacopo & Mreddie as well - for reading my I'm-up-way-too-late-and-will-regret-it-in-the-morning ramblings.

Dodomanboxer: Kerouac's the quote on the left - it's one of my favorites. It's amazing when something so stream-of-conscious can come out so eloquent.

Blogger Neo said...

Mella -The good old days eh?

Man sometimes you just want to go back to that perfect moment of frienship and say goodbye to the innocence.

And hey don't give up yet on yourself. Your writing is amazing, and there is a spark in that writing. Clothes are temporary, touching stories are forever.

Peace,

- Neo

Blogger Paul Motes said...

Wow, yo're truly a romantic in the classical sense. What a gold mine.

Talented writing and I may add worth the visit.

I can't figure people out sometimes. But you should be the very last person to worry about anything. A man is coming to you even now. And you will never give the past much more thought than a passing bird as you walk on.
Anywho...

Blogger Paul Motes said...

Actually I misunderstood some things..
YouALREAD Y DO Have a woinderful life.

my bad forgive me.

Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

Mella,

I believe everyone we ever love or that we are touched by in our lives, remain a part of us- for the rest of our days.

We can continue to bring each person back, that we have loved or cherished as a friend, just by reaching into that special place in our hearts!

;) Believe me-it tends to get crowded in there, after awhile! Because we find a lot of people to love along the way.

...And even the bitter-sweet memories are worth keeping!

(This from my advanced age of 64! :) )

June


http://journals.aol.com/juniper5541/JunipersWorld/

Blogger ~Deb said...

"I believe everyone we ever love or that we are touched by in our lives, remain a part of us- for the rest of our days."

Oooooooh that gave me the chills. Isn't that so true? I loved what Junierose said!

And no need to thank me for telling you about the discovery of your blog--I would have told you sooner if I didn't clean out my computer. I lost your site and I was so upset! I'm just happy I discovered you again!

Excellent writing---I love it!

Blogger Teri said...

This actually made me cry! Especially the last paragraph. I have some of these same memories of my college days.

Thanks as always.

ps. I'm up nights with you lately...

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