long hugs

25 September 2009

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a small town, but there is something remarkable about this sustained bond between people that seemed to rematerialize like a magic thread after thirty years of carrying on lives apart from one another.  For a few of those folks I reunited with last weekend, it was a given – we’ve been tending those old friendships all along, and seeing them was the main reason I went to the class reunion. But what I have also been relishing and enjoying since coming home the other day is the feeling of being recognised and welcomed and cared for by people I hadn’t seen or spoken to in all or most of those thirty years.

Sometimes you had to look at a nametag because a person had changed so.  Which this particular writer couldn’t do gracefully or surreptitiously because she couldn’t read the darn things without pulling out her glasses.  Most often when the recognition took hold though, even if it was delayed, the person stood before me as a bright and shining testament to a life lived in another time; a life that eventually led me to this one.  And there were still things to talk about.  I still felt pleased when boys flirted with me.  The prettiest girl then is still the prettiest girl now, and the funniest girl then is still the funniest girl now.  And the hugs and handshakes were natural and welcome.

One of the reasons I looked forward to the event was because I’m proud of the person I’ve come to be, and was glad to share it. Sure, thirty years gave me as many pounds on the scale, and various lines and sags, but the things those thirty years gave me outweigh those many times over: wisdom and growth and knowledge and confidence and experience and two wonderful daughters.  And I can’t describe how gratifying it was to see how all those things transformed my long-haired, jeans-clad teenage comrades from a million years ago.  That’s what I cherished in each of those new/old faces because with every year and its trials, successes, missteps, joys, failures and challenges, they are lovelier and handsomer and stronger and sexier and smarter and more beautiful than they were at 18. 

And that’s a gift I’ll carry around in my pocket for the next thirty years – or at least until the fortieth.


5 Responses to “long hugs”

  1. Hay Says:

    So glad it was wonderful for you 🙂

  2. Lynn Says:

    Loved it, you expressed it beautifully, well done:)

  3. Jane Says:

    I am raking leaves today and thinking about the past and playing in the leaves in Alma Street. Happy thoughts!! Thanks jen!!

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