Saturday, January 11, 2014

Going Back Home

aj snook
It had been two years since I last stood on U.S. soil, and I felt a sense of comfort being back. Familiar streets, routines and faces; all of them sparked flames in my memory of youthful adventures, of once vibrant but now lost identities, the kind that melted into the timeline of my life like the freshly laid snowflakes outside of my window each night as I sat up in bed restless, jet lagged. An itch had been scratched.

Most of the trip was spent in the house, but the weather did permit a venture out once or twice. The burrito-as-big-as-your-head shop down the street was loud and fast-paced, the staff short and snarky. And the line of overweight patrons shuffled along, the dining area a veritable fattening pen. I worried that my not remembering the corporate-coined names of the various salsas would give me away, an expat back for a ten day blink.

I brought the grub to my friends who had gotten old. They were soft and the spark that once inflamed their eyes was now replaced with a murky fog. The settled cloud that fills the air after the battle for individuality and I-rule-the-fucking-world-ness had been forfeited for the issues that consume the participants of the mundane and the suburban.

But we had been through things, them and I. We had partied, fought, made-up, and even been there for each other when the lives of a few young friends were tragically lost. We would be there for one another again if, knock on wood, that should happen again.

Though we now talked using once-ugly and other-worldly vocabulary such as mortgage and career trajectory, or found true interest in documentary film and the convenience afforded by a smart thermostat, a sense that our memories lived on in a hidden space, a safe place, a vault of innocence, a bed cordoned off in a warm corner of reality, lingered in the room, and ever so often that afternoon soft smiles of appreciation adorned our faces, ornaments of the season of reunion, the season that comes all too infrequently.

A story of friends (recommended free Kindle eBook):


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