I saw a friend I hadn't seen in 23 years recently. Hadn't talked, e-mailed. Nothing. Everything was totally different, obviously. We had wives, family, life changes, mistakes, victories, defeats, careers. It was really weird. When we were friends, we were young. Now we're middle-aged. The great part was that somehow, I could look at him, see everything that I liked about him when I was young, and still see the same qualities in him today. I hope that was true for him too.
Seeing him, I felt different than I normally do. I felt younger, less burdened by the events of my life. Even if it was just for the afternoon I saw him, I felt almost as fresh as it might have been to see me, with the events of 23 years condensed and simplified into the briefest of outlines. It makes a nice narrative, when you lay it out in ten minutes. There's less fatigue and exhaustion. The errors aren't as serious. Time passing can be kind, you can forget some of the bad times, the ways you might have caused them.
It was a good day. Our children played together. We talked all afternoon. I don't know when I'll see him again, he lives on another continent. It killed me a little to say goodbye.
I want to reach back in time and tell my younger self, "Hold on to people. The real friends you make, the good ones...they're rare, and can slip away." When you're young, you think it's easy. You get old, and you "wise up", close down and wall off. To all the really good friends I had, all through my childhood and up, I miss us, and the good times we had. The bad times that happened, I wish them different now, but the good times were really good. Thanks for those. Hope you're all doing well, wherever you are.