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Old Friends...

I debated about whether I wanted to include “old” in this writing. I mean, I could call them, dear friends, close friends, long time friends...but decided to use old because it is the best descriptor. We are getting older. And are now much older than when we began...

And that is part of the magic I have come to believe. It is enduring this aging process together, growing up, growing out, getting fatter, more wrinkled, less energetic, more stable, then less stable again. It is living through this process with each other that deepens the bond, increases the intimacy.

This trip back East has been a trip down memory lane for me in a variety of ways...

First, I am working with a friend who I have known for a quarter century and used to practice law with back in the day. She and I are embarking on a journey together that will hopefully, if we do it right, bring us both security, peace of mind and we will have a great deal of fun in the process.

Yesterday we had lunch with another woman who was there at the beginning. The three of us were all solo practitioners and we used to have lunch, at least once a week, spending time together discussing legal issues, problem clients, men, relationships and the like. We were each others lifelines. We were each other partners even though we all maintained our independence. It was so good yesterday to sit, really we lounged, at a fine restaurant in Salisbury, reviewing life from then until now. Our joys, our sorrows, our losses, our gains, our loves, our “if I only would haves”, our lives...and we cried a little, and laughed a great deal.

As we drove away I felt this fierce love for these two women. We have all been through so much. We have been consumed at times by the lives we have created. We have almost been destroyed also. But we have risen. Each of us, on our own paths. I think always knowing that we were routing each other along from the sidelines...without fail.

I have always wanted these two women to succeed, to be happy, to love, to be loved. I want them to have great fortunes of love, pleasure, comfort, joy and inner peace. And each of us, in our own way, can claim that today...most of the time.

A couple of days prior to this lunch, I walked into a room and there was a man that I knew years ago. Haven’t seen him in at least twenty years. But there he was, looking pretty much the same, I mean as much as one person can avoid the ravages of time. And even though the intervening years have brought on great hardship, pain, suffering, loss and grief, there we both were still there living our lives, recreating ourselves one more time to fit the current circumstances of our present, again, still.

Last evening I got to have dinner with two men who I really feel like are brothers I never had. The three of us comfortable with each other in ways that seem only fitting of people raised with each other. And I guess we were. We all grew up together. We met in our 20s and have been close ever since.

We laughed so hard we almost spit our drinks out. At one point, Karl almost choked on his food because Patrick said something with impeccable timing that was fucking hilarious. And we laughed and we listened and we loved. I love these two men with a similar ferocity. They are my supports, my cheerleaders, my champions. And I pray that I am that for them. That they know how very much I love them, honor them, value them and need them.

We closed that restaurant down - our laughter and fun so great that the staff didn't have the heart to tell us they closed 30 minutes prior...that is just how much fun we were having.

This trip has been so interesting with all my past and present mixing together. The old folded in with the new. The relationships I have sustained over the years coming from a youth that actually provided the stable basis for my life today. It was wonderful to sit with them and drink them in. See who they have become, hear their stories, their laughter, their fears, their joys and sorrows. And to know that each of us is forever intertwined in our history. And perhaps the greatest gift is that our history provided us a sinew, a filamentary structure to create a present life, together.

Miles have separated all of us. Me, flitting all about the country, a forever gypsy, never landing in one place long enough to put down any real roots (until more recently). Them all remaining in the same geographic area, but making great, sweeping changes to their lives as they stayed more geographically sited.

We have aged. We are not the same as we were back then, but at the very same time, we are still who we have always been. And there is something so reliable, so comforting to be in the presence of people who have known you for a very long time. Knew you when you were youthful, arrogant, unyielding and wild. And to have a great amount of all of that dimmed by the passage of time, but at the very same, to reignited that in each other every time we get together. It is kind of amazing really.

I was 25 again this weekend. Laughing, loving, carrying on, and with their presence, I was the me I was back then. And they were the them they used to be all while we were present, captive in our aging minds and bodies, while being tethered and present in this life as it is today.

This only happens with people who have known you for a long time. Old friends. The ones who are weathered, beaten up, shabby from life’s unending defeats, victories, debacles, triumphs and losses. These old friends are the ones that make you realize that you have had a good life regardless because there are people like them still in your life. They still like you. Hell, they even still love you. In spite of all you have done, all that has happened, all the places where you really should have zigged instead of zagged. They have walked with you through it all and they know you. Perhaps they miss some of the mundane details of every day life, but they KNOW you: your heart, your mind, your story, your history, your essence. And they love you for it just as you love them.

I have had a marvelous time revisiting the people I love dearly while also getting to spend some time with who I used to be. And old friends are the only ones that can take you all the versions of yourself from that day to this. And I know that I am better for it, because of them in fact. Old friends are time machines that take you back and allow you to feel some grace for all the ways you fucked it up and all the versions of yourself you have been and will become. I am so very grateful to all these wonderful people whom I love with all my heart and soul. Thank you for loving me and allowing me to love you back. I am a changed soul because of you. And I pray that I never forget that...

I am very sad that we didn't get a photo with my friend Daryl. Next time dear one! Next time!

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