My four oldest friends in the world are Marc, Andrew, Tracie and David.
We have all known each other for a minimum of 25 years. They are the people who knew me when, and who know me now. I love them all as dearly as my own family.
We don’t all live near each other anymore; haven’t since the first of us (Andrew, Tracie and I, that’s us in the picture above) left for college in 1993.
But every year since then, we have made a concerted effort to meet at least once a year, all of us, over Thanksgiving break when we were all home visiting our families.
It might be my favorite day of the year. We sit, we talk, we re-connect in a way we can’t do when we talk on the phone or by email. No matter how many years go by, we all fall into our familiar roles in the group dynamic, and that’s as comforting to me as an old sweater. Girlfriends have become wives and boyfriends turned into husbands, and they’re added to the group and I sometimes wonder that after the 78th time hearing the story of how Andrew and I fought over who got to have a crush on Tracie (that actually happened once), they’ll just leave us and sit at another table.
This year we met Saturday night, and it was as special as always. We’ve come so far, all of us; and now instead of talking of hook-ups and drunken nights, we talk about babies and sitters and memories and pass around cellphone pictures of the kids.
A lot has changed in my life in the past few months, but there’s a rock-solid sense of security in knowing that the people who loved you then, still love you now.
And will love you for all your tomorrows, too.
**This is just a little P.S. kind of thing. Rode the train home from NYC to Long Island after the dinner. Bought a N.Y. Times before I got on. The ride was an hour, and I was in a pretty quiet train car, and for one peaceful 60-minute stretch, I simply sat and read the newspaper. You can’t do that in a car; too many distractions, obviously.
A train is the perfect place to just sit back, read and relax. You have no control over how fast you’re going, or when you’ll get there. It’s like a built-in life timeout, and I enjoy its rare pleasure.