You wouldn’t pick us out of a crowd – a couple impassioned teachers and a pair of perpetual students; a photographer about to risk it all for a foreign love affair, a camper chasing a dream, a soon to be psychologist falling into fate, and a spunky road runner just cooling her heals.
What are the odds that the relationships would withstand their transplant from the confines of a catholic curriculum to a sticky table in a jukebox bar? Our assignments didn’t demand this distance, but we crossed a line anyway. Five years, a handful of states, a half-dozen careers, a big broken promise, and a couple of degrees later and there we were. Around another table, like nothing at all had passed, like it always had been. In the company of jack and spotted cow, in the badger’s den and beneath dimmed lights, the conversation picked up right where it had left off.
Doesn’t happen every day, that kind of good fortune. Can’t just create that sort of magic. Seamless conversation and bottomless laughter erupting effortlessly from a place too easily forgotten. There is no formula, no legwork to replicate. I had hoped it might happen, but I wouldn’t have bet it all. But somewhere off the grid of any map we could have imagined, between stubborn correspondence and wishful thinking there were friendships that won’t fall through any crack. Because if these five years didn’t matter, none ever will. A beer after work, between breaks, and homecomings, stolen walks and futile emails proved enough to sustain something that could just have easily dissolved. But then again, makes me wonder if maybe it can’t. If maybe it wasn’t ours for the choosing, nor ours to neglect. It’s just ours for the taking. So snatch we did, round after round, year after year, a little kindling and the occasional reunion and it’s like it always was. Perfect. Lucky lucky me.