Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Old friends.

Two weekends ago, somewhat out of the blue, I got an email from my friend Chris. Chris had sent a note to me and to Fred, saying he'd be in the city on Monday night, and can the three of us get together.

When I was 13, I was painfully shy, and I had transferred to a new high school and was having a rough time of it, a rough time making friends. 

Chris was my first friend as a ninth grader, he was also new to the school. He had a sense of humor, an appetite for the absurdities of ninth grade and a wide streak of irreverence. In short, we were two peas in a tight-fitting pod.

My second friend was Fred. We got friendly when we played on the baseball team together and were united by our senses of humor and the feeling that we hardly belonged where we were.

Through the years, our relationships have risen, fallen and risen again, as relationships do. And, truth be told, at least with Chris, many years snuck by without talking or even writing to each other.

But, as it says on some fortune cookie somewhere, there are no friends like old friends, and over the last few years--thanks in part to the connectiveness of Facebook--the three of us, the three cynical Musketeers, are closer than we've been since the spring of 1972.

Last night, we gathered in my apartment and sat around my dining room table for four hours, having a drink of this or that, eating one, or two, too many slices of pizza, and laughing--laughing like there's no tomorrow.

We talked about old times, about the stupidity of high school, and crazy times in college. We talked about our 
kids--Fred and I have two each, Chris has four. And we talked, mostly, I think, about being old men now, and living in a world we no longer precisely understand.

But mostly, in between old jokes and grousing about our various aches and pains, our feelings of displacement, our feelings that maybe we have songs inside us that no one, anymore, want to hear, we laughed. 

We laughed the laughs of 45 years of friendship. Of illnesses and injuries. Of the travails of long marriages and of fatherhood and of parents lost to old age and death.

But mostly we laughed. 

And for four hours, we were teenagers again. Laughing and with our lives ahead of us.

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