During every round of household excavations, i find something that stops me in my tracks. This time? No exception.
Viciously tearing through bookshelves heaving with excess, i was in good form. Thirty year old textbook on “Plastics Engineering”? POOF! That “Principles of Modern Physics” that tortured me for an entire year of undergraduate studies? Get outta my life, Drs. Halliday and Resnick! Paperback novels bought in airports over the past few decades of travel? Banished to the thrift store box! Find a new home!
On the same shelf? A small book of poetry. A gift, long forgotten. Opening the cover i discovered the handwritten inscription from 1978.
To Daisyfae –
Finding an old book is like reliving the past. As the dust is swept away by the hand, the mind recalls memories of different times and old friends.
As if my excavations weren’t slowed enough? A book of photographs – with the following written inside the cover:
Well, the day we’ve looked forward to for so long is finally here… May 18th, 1980, better known as the day we graduate. I don’t know where we’ll be ten years from now. I do know you were one of my dearest friends in high school (that’s four long years), and that we went through our “formative” years together. Also that if I can’t remember your name when I’m old and grey it doesn’t matter, because our paths have crossed, and each will be forever different because they did. We’ll never forget each other because we’ve grown and changed together.
Keep reaching for that higher plane, and always remember the simplistic beauty of the laughter we’ve shared.
My evening of excavations was delightfully derailed as i tripped back to a time when i was angst-ridden and alive… So much of the goofy-assed, drunken, bon vivant that i happen to be these days can be traced back to those four incredibly formative years – with Jenny and Jeff as my best friends.
When we went to different universities in 1980, we lost touch. The next time i spoke with Jenny? i tracked her down in 1986 to tell her Jeff had died. She knew why i was calling as soon as she heard my voice.
After that? Another brief reconnection ten years ago, as i was in southern California on a business trip. We had found each other by e-mail a few months prior, and planned to meet for dinner. Our lives had taken decidedly different paths, but we were able to pick up the conversation as if we’d been in constant contact through the years.
Her route? From teaching English literature in the Los Angeles public schools, she followed a path that led to law school, and eventually to private family law practice. She was delighted to find that i’d survived the dark years and managed to follow my girlish dream of being a scientist. Not quite astronaut, but we both considered it a success in that i hadn’t been found dead in a gutter.
After finding the inscribed books, i grabbed a beer, and set about a “missing person” search. Found her. Sent an e-mail to let her know that as an 18 year-old, she’d successfully managed to reach forward in time. i also thanked her for being such an erudite little shit that she could reach in and play with my heart from so far away – in time and distance.
Here’s to old friends. Here’s to time travel.