"Seven thousand days. I was running the other day, and I thought, it's been seven thousand days." His face is close to ours as we lean in to listen. The speaker is short, athletic (is that a Hawaiian shirt he's wearing?) and has graying spiky hair . He speaks with an air of energetic surprise, or maybe energetic wonder. "It's hard to believe it's been twenty years," I say and he, laughingly and shaking his head, says "yeah."
The bar is crowded and dark and filled with reunion-goers. I don't recognize many people, not because they've changed so much, but because I had a large high-school class and it's impossible to know everyone, especially when you're shy and focused on your AP classes and your own circle of friends. Something has seriously shifted though. A lot, actually, and that is not surprising. I am not the same person, which is good because it means I've grown, I've experienced many things in life, I've accomplished goals and had little adventures and joys and heartbreaks and other years where I basically just coasted but somehow I can't stop creating a mythology of 'the early years.' Re-writes are addictive. And the town seems so small. Which is weird because I come back once or twice a year and I love it and I brag to all the east-coasters about the cleanliness and the politeness and the types of houses you can buy since the prices are not east-coast prices.
My parent's roomy house, the peacefulness of a small college town in the Midwest, the campus grounds (so green and lush) and buildings, the feeling of being taken care of by my gentle parents: these are things that are infinitely good. Will we have my mother's homemade pizza for dinner? Time to go to the store and get some veggies to put on top. I need high-speed internet access, can I go to your office Dad? It's a rest from my go-go-12-hour-work-day, six-days-a-week-life and reminds me how lucky I am. My friend, the one who came to the reunion with me for company and for luck, says, "they take good care of you." Well, they do.
Funny. This was supposed to be a post about my reunion and it turned into a post about the present. Which I find comforting. Which I find so typical of me because even if I love re-writes, the real thing is the best and the present is so real and alive. Well, you might as well keep moving forward, no point in looking back, today is sweet, can't you feel the lovely cool air on the skin of your arm, look at the Picasso print hanging up on the wall above the computer, look at the colors, oh what a blessing. Oh my, what a blessing. Seven thousand days, huh?
(I'm listening to Darkness by the Police which should be nostalgic and retro, but I listen to it so much at work that it feels very much of the present and makes my heart expand and ache a little. Sting's whiny scratchy voice stirs something in me, you feel a little afraid and hopeful and wanting listening to it. I want and want and want and tomorrow, maybe, I'll get what I want. Only, what is it I want exactly? So, maybe it is nostalgic, just a little, because isn't that what youth feels like? Hope and want. And the little thundery sound in the background music reminds me of Iowa thunderstorms heaving across big skies while I am sitting at home and dreaming of the future. Of the world beyond my own door. Well, here it is. I am in the world beyond my front door. I wish I never woke up this morning, life was easy when it was boring......he sings but I can't agree with him on that sentiment. Life was easy, sure, when it was boring, but who wants to hide from life? It's beyond a blessing, isn't it?)