Friday, September 15, 2006

Old friends

This morning, while waiting for a ride from Nick, I looked up from my book and saw a woman that looked familiar. I knew she was connected to some part of my life, but I wasn't sure which era. A second later, my eyes landed on the man she was with, a friend that I have known since middle school.

Although both of us have lived in Pittsburgh for the last several years, we never see each other. In fact, the only time we have spent time together in the years since college have been while attending a high-school friend's weddings. Our worlds just do not overlap any longer. Given all that, the familiarity of running into someone you used to know so well is strange.

We connected at summer camp and association weeks for several years before his family moved from Pennsylvania to my street in Virginia. While our lives remained fairly separate in school, they seemed to overlap a lot after 3pm. In high school we remained friends. Our social worlds still weren't very connected, but we continued to talk where they did overlap and about the details in between. My senior year, I moved away and we'd send poetry we wrote by mail and then critique it over the phone. In college, our relationship was much the same as it always had been. However, over the last five-six years we've had hardly any overlap.

Today, he was on his way to his partner's second sonogram. They were hoping to see the baby move and were excitedly awaiting the arrival of their baby in February. I hadn't even known they were pregnant. I rarely enjoy running into people randomly, but every now and then I see someone so familiar, our history so thick, that it isn't awkward at all. Without the uncomfortable expectation that we should have stayed in touch more than we have, running into one another is just a happy surprise.

After we said goodbye, I realized that as caught up with my well-read friend--mostly likely in historical and political literature--I was reading a guilty pleasure novel. One that while entertaining, certainly wasn't well-written...But certainly did have a recognizable title. Maybe he didn't notice...Or maybe he did. I guess it doesn't matter. I feel genuinely glad that our paths crossed this morning, and I hope that they saw a kicking baby and have something to smile about as they go about the rest of their day.

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