My cousin wrote a beautiful article about our hometown. It was one of those pieces of writing that just made me want to drop everything and write. She and I were lucky enough to have grown up side by side, so much of what she wrote, I felt a strong connection to. Check it out here.
One line, in particular, came to mind the other day, “I like walking into the local cafe, Mugshots, to find everyone I’ve ever met inside.” And that couldn’t have been more accurate.
It had been an egregious day at work, but I was in high spirits. Before making my treck home, and because the coffee shop is so close by, my addiction convinced me to stop for my usual- a gingersnap latte. I made my way to the counter and as I ordered, a feeling I can’t describe swept over me when I looked to the corner of the room and saw a previous friend of four years across the room. We haven’t truly talked in over a year.
She and I weren’t alone in our friendship. There were others in our circle. I loved them all dearly. But things just weren’t the same after I returned home from Florida.
I contemplated talking to her, asking how she had been even though I already had a pretty good idea based on her Facebook posts. But as I stood there making small talk with the barista, she called out my friend’s name for her drink and I found my feet carrying me in the opposite direction that she would be approaching. Why did I do that?
I focused my attention on the merchandise for sale across the room while she grabbed her freshly brewed beverage. As I stood there, I saw from the corner of my eye another customer come in. I didn’t think much of it. Then I heard a familiar voice. It was another one of our friends.
Again, I found myself avoiding a previous friend’s gaze as I stared into my phone screen. I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable by acknowledging I saw her, lest I make her feel an obligation to talk to me rather than a desire. (I also realize that perhaps by doing so I portrayed myself as uninviting.) She and I also hadn’t talked in a year.
But once again my feet had a mind of their own, planting themselves firmly on the ground despite my desire to talk to her- see how her cat is and how things are with her boyfriend. She didn’t approach me and she didn’t approach our other friend either. They were once closer to each other than I ever was with either of them- even planning to be each other’s maid of honor someday. She simply grabbed her called-in to-go order and left. Gone.
I did the same when my order was ready. We all, once again, went our separate ways. Just like after graduation. The only thing I can gather from this is that times and people change. We had all planned to stay in contact, constantly visit one another throughout the rest of our lives no matter where we ended up. But they’re not who they once were, and I’m certainly not who I once was. And the promises we made are null and void. As much as we may want to hold on to the past, sometimes it slips through our fingers like sand in an hourglass.