BITTERSWEET

I’m not sure how much I shared here about the crappy week I just spent. It involved just about the entire gamut of Murphy’s Law and then some. Next time I schedule a week off work, well… never mind. Let’s just say that there are a few things worse than work stress.

Today I spent the day with an old dear friend whose mother passed away a few days ago. There was no service, just a quiet gathering of close friends and family invited to gather at the Family Home. This dear friend Tom, I met 19 years ago when I was in Art School. Sadly, I can count the times that we’ve managed to get together since then on one hand. The same can be said for the other friends I made during that time. But, by a strange twist of fate, Tom and two others from that part of my life, rekindled some of our old magic. Let me give a little background.

When I was 32 years old, my kids were both in school and my marriage was all but over. It became evident and necessary that I seek an education so that I would be able to provide for myself and them. I enrolled in Art School.

Picture me in a class of about 20 others, starting the same term, who ranged in age anywhere from 17-19 years old. If I remember correctly, only three others beside me were female. Let the games begin…

In the course of our time together, I forged 3 truly great, enduring friendships. How can that be? I was almost 15 years older, and they were, well… boys. Sometimes relationships transcend age and gender. And I have proof. Tom, Greg and John, I’m sure, will attest. I may have played more of a matriarchal role than a peer in the beginning, but that didn’t stop us from partying together or much else. We shared the sweating clear up to deadlines. We shared crazy photography projects (Don’t even ask me about things that transpired in the darkrooms.) We sat together, antsy and uncomfortable (at first) through nude figure-drawing classes. We blew off steam together on weekends and during lunch breaks. We shared and criticized each other’s music. Basically we became the bigger part of each other’s lives for the duration of our time in school. And it left a hella mark on each of us. I could cite so many of the experiences that bonded us, but it would have little meaning for anyone outside of our Circle.

Today is the first time that all four of us have been together since 3 of us graduated in 1989. Imagine an afternoon loosely based on The Big Chill, but set in 2008. (Please tell me you’ve seen it so I don’t have to explain.)

Being with those guys brought back so many memories and good feelings, despite the sad occasion. They’re all grown men now, in their thirties with lives and families and plans of their own. And a little part of me sits back, looking proudly on, knowing that we shared such a precious part of our lives and are all better people for it.

I love you guys and thanks for accepting me into a tight, small, exclusive, Forever Circle.

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10 responses to “BITTERSWEET

  1. “so that I would be able to provide for myself and them. I enrolled in Art School.”

    Was that part supposed to make me laugh? Because it did. It’s along the same lines as my “Well, I’ve almost completed my English BA, so I might as well finish it instead of switching to something else,” when I was already married, only breadwinner, and both of us were in college.

    But, seriously, I’m glad that you guys had a good time being in the same room together again, even though it was for a somber event. I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when I first lose one of my close college friends. They are the ones who have lasted, and the only ones from high school who did are those who also were in college with me.

    Dammit, I’m sorry I’m so verbose all the time. I want to know more about the darkroom adventures.

  2. Mark: In the interest of time and space (and being less verbose *wink*) I didn’t go into some detail that maybe I should have… When I got married the first time, I had been accepted at a great (Art) school in Pgh. which is no longer there (Not the city, the school… doh!) I postponed going as I got pregnant one month after the wedding. It was my life-long dream. I wanted to be at home with my kids when they were small, so the postponement lasted a long time.

    Not sure you understood, it was Tom’s mother’s passing that brought us together today.

  3. I can’t say that I’m surprised to know that you meshed so well with these guys. You have a sort of “everybody’s friend” quality to you. You just seem to fit in with people everywhere. And these are qualities that, I’m sure all of your regulars would agree, make you so special to each of us as well.

  4. M+: You are too sweet to me. I am going to have to add this to my list of Greatest Compliments Received.
    I was just sitting here ruing the end of my vacation and trying to find a reason to smile, despite the sunburn I got today (dumb me) and you just made me ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Dammit, I would love to meet you and JuJu. I feel like I know you, the only thing left is to meet you in person:(

  6. I am glad that went well for you considering the circumstances. There are a few people that I went to school with that I would love to run into, literally. I hated those people, good times, good times.

  7. this doesn’t surprise me, you are awesome and value people for who they truly are. people. that is noble and beautiful. you know, boo hag used to pose for those types of classes so people could paint her.

    we very well may need to clone you, are you cool with that?

  8. Oh why did you have to mention Art, now you got me remembering Art class in school, I was so bad at art the teacher used to ask me to go read a book instead. What a jerk, all beacuse for one project called “A Rainy Day” I submitted a large piece of paper that had been soaked in the rain….truly, the greatest works of art are never appreciated.

    I’m glad you met up with your old dear friends, why does it sometimes take a funeral to get people to meet though. Happens to me often to, though when you come to think of it attending a funeral is pointless from the point of view of the dearly departed, but I guess funerals are for the living, if you know what I mean.

    ..not sure what exactly I’m trying to say here, there were these many bottles of red wine over the weekend ……

  9. It is always my distinct pleasure to know that I’ve been able put a smile on someone’s face. It’s part of what I do. Knowing that it was your face makes it that much brighter for me. Knowing that you desperately needed the smile makes it priceless. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

  10. Lori: You wouldn’t like us. We lie on our blogs. Like crazy. ;-P

    Jeff: They didn’t like you either. ;-P

    P’let: Does BooHag have a large birthmark on her left buttcheek? < is that a word???
    You’re too sweet.

    Raggy: I love the story about the Rain picture!
    I totally agree about funerals. I hope the people I leave behind have a hella good time at mine!
    Despite the wine, you made perfect, delightful sense.

    M+: You are so very good at what you do and I’m thankful for that. That seems to be a common thread among my readers, come to think of it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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