If any of you are my Facebook friends (which most of you are since this is a new blog and I have not yet met my 15 minutes of fame), you may have seen the posts I made last weekend about an old friend passing through Denver and meeting me for dinner. It had been about 15 years since I had seen him last, and under different circumstances. I was footloose and fancy free back then. I was in college.
We met when I was 17. During the last few months of my senior year, I worked in a coffee shop in Wheaton, MD. He came in, as a customer, with a few friends and he and I hit it off pretty much immediately. For about two or three months, we were inseparable. He took me to my first techno clubs where we danced until dawn. With him, I had my first run-in with the law–a ticket for trespassing in an illegal rock quarry. We spent a lot of time getting to know each other, and at that time he was my closest confidant.
Over the years and in spite of the miles that have separated us, we have stayed close. He got married, had 3 babies, and endured financial and career hardships. I bought a house, got married, got divorced, got married again and had a baby, changed careers. Sometimes we’d go a year not talking, and then I’d get a random call from my buddy–just wanting to catch up. That’s true friendship. I haven’t really experienced that with many other people in my life.
So as I sat there at dinner on Sunday night, I was so clearly reminded that time has indeed ticked by. I looked into the face of a man that once belonged to a boy. And I’m sure he saw the same things as he looked at me. Memories of my teenage years came flooding back, and reminders of my current age and experiences swirled about me. It was strangely comforting, but sort of overwhelming.
He said to me, “Marisa, you’re the person I always knew you’d be.” He said it twice. I was a hot teenage mess when he knew me. Hell, I’ve been a mess up until the fall of 2007–right before I met Derek. “I always knew that this was what you’d become; even before you knew it yourself.” It made me want to cry right then and there, but I held it back and drank some more wine. I just replied with a weak, “Yeah, I guess so.” He was proud of me, and that made me feel pretty awesome.
I’m not lost anymore. I have a good life now–one that I dreamed and created. I’m not sprinting anymore for some finish line that doesn’t exist. That realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I have achieved it. I have what I’ve always wanted and have become the woman who I am proud to be. Seems silly, but self-appreciation has never come easy for me. When I got home and climbed into bed, I woke up my poor husband. I told him about my simple epiphany, while crying my eyes out. Bless his heart–he just looked at me and said, “I’m glad you had a good time.”
So, my friend was an art major in college. He told me at dinner, however, that he hadn’t created anything in a really long time. I was really bummed to hear that. I told him to start painting again and to send me pics of the stuff. He said he’d think about it. So as he’s been traveling through the dusty roads of Wyoming this week, he has flooded my inbox with photographs. Beautiful photographs of the Wild West. I’m not sure if it’s coincidence, but I like to think my pep talk inspired the outpour of creativity. He’d never tell me if I did, so I’ll just assume so!
So here are some of my faves I thought I’d share with the world:
SD, if you’re reading this, thank you for being my friend. Traveled down the road and back again… just kidding–I’ll skip the Golden Girls theme song!!
What do you think, readers? I think his photos are pretty cool!