Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I've thought about us for a long, long time

Hello. Perhaps I ought to call this Postcards from the Edge. But then again, perhaps that is far too dramatic. I’m not the first person to pack up their belongings and leave for parts unknown, and I certainly won’t be the last.

Monday night, LS and I met for dinner, followed by dessert. I haven’t seen her in a long time, so I was glad to be able to catch up with her before leaving. Similarly, last night, JI, who has been in Paris for the past month, called from a bar near my apartment, and we met for a drink to catch up. I wish I could do that with everyone. I’ve realized that I don’t do well in a group- there are always so many stronger personalities that my tendency is to hang back and turn into the observer. Not a wallflower, mind you. My crutch is to turn into that curmudgeon that sits in a corner, making little, wisea$$ remarks when the right opening presents itself. Anyway, as a result, meeting with groups of people to say goodbye always feels insufficient to me.

Of course, it could also be that I am not really one for goodbyes. There have been a lot of yeah, I’m sure we’ll see each other again before I go exchanges designed to prevent farewells from being said. I don’t even know how to say goodbye or if it needs to be said. Saying I will keep in touch is a great sentiment, and not at all insincere, but it’s also hard to predict. The weird thing about moving is that it is difficult to predict who you will keep in touch with. A lot depends on circumstance, and variables beyond anyone’s control. When I left New Jersey, there were some people I considered close friends who I didn’t keep in touch with at all. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them; it wasn’t because they were friends of convenience. It’s sort of inexplicable, but some friendships stuck and some didn’t. All I can do really is to hold tight for a moment and be grateful that I had any friends, anywhere, anytime.

The strangest example of the universe and its grand plans is that I have plans tonight to meet up with two people I haven’t seen in a decade. Both were close friends of mine during our university years. But both moved to Japan shortly after graduation, and, as the strange unpredictability of friendship goes, we lost touch. Last Monday, out of nowhere, one of them contacted me, having been settled in the Peninsula for the past year. The other friend, it turns out, has been living in San Francisco for over a year. A part of me wanted to brush this whole thing off, say too late! with some mad gesture. But the universe kind of demands your attention. It seemed like it would be a big mistake to ignore this kind of odd coincidence and timing.

And I can almost make out what the universe is trying to point out to me. Friendships are strange and unpredictable and transient and impermanent. But. But. But they are also strange and unpredictable and precious and return to you and stay with you in one way or another forever.

p.s. Oh yeah, somewhere in the middle of all of this, I'm supposed to be packing up all of my belongings and shutting up shop. You can guess how well that is going.

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