The other night, I stood at the viewing of an old friend’s grandfather. He had aged considerably since I’d last seen him up close.
This was not unexpected in the nearly 20 years that had passed since his granddaughter and I took turns walking down the street to the other’s house. But in the present, she and I stood telling stories and cracking jokes as though it hadn’t been nearly 8 years since we’d seen each other or really even talked.
We’d come a long way in all of those years. We had graduated from college, started and lost jobs, dated and dumped boyfriends and grown old enough to occasionally not get carded when buying alcohol. It was my first time meeting her again in person as someone else’s wife (and yet another person’s mother).
Life is really funny in all of the directions that it takes you. My third wedding anniversary is in a few days. And on that night 3 years ago, I spoke to an old friend for the last time. It was the last time I saw him, too, before deciding it was best that we went our own ways.
It was neither something I expected nor planned in the years we’d been friends. I assumed we’d call each other and share the intricacies of our lives until one of us died. And instead, the thought of him brings a smile to my face now. I occasionally wonder what he’s doing. And I wonder: does he know anything about me? Does he think about me fondly?
I often wonder about the sorts of change Nathan will see in his life. How many different friends will he have? Jobs, partners, dreams, pets? Will any of it come back around to the same path again? In only 28 years, it feels sometimes like I haven’t done much living. But when I really think about it, it feels like that’s all I’ve done. I’ve seen a lot change.
Imagining the sort of world my son will occupy in 20 years tests the limits of my imagination. It could be anything. The sort of life he’ll lead is entirely up in the air. But hopefully he too will someday have good friends he can call after years and find that he hasn’t skipped a beat.
And may he be just as happy fondly reminiscing, but content with the closed doors behind him.