The Reappearance of Old Friends

This has, it seems, been the year of reacquaintanceship.

Early this year, I spoke for the first time in almost two decades with a very old, and at one time very dear, friend and lover. She had been my first lover, in fact, but time and tide carried us in different directions, and we both went out to meet our lives, and lost track of one another.

It was a happy, but not long-lasting, reunion; it seems her current lover doesn’t approve of her associating with me. Old flames are dangerous things, and all that.

Anyway, shortly after, I received a surprise phone call from another very old friend, a person who was my best friend in our high-school days, and with whom I had not spoken for some twelve years. She had been married, and had gone on to I didn’t know where, and we had fallen out of touch.

Turns out she was living not far down the road from me. We’d both moved many times in the intervening decade, but not so far as all that; we have since renewed our friendship, and have had great fun talking about our younger and more foolish selves.

Midweek, my wife received a phone call from yet another old friend, a person we last saw in 1992, some eleven years ago. He had at that time been part of a close circle of friends my wife and I held in common, which is now scattered (and with some animosity; some things happened, many of which were quite ugly and all of which were completely avoidable had we all taken more care).

“So,” he said, “I had just got to thinking about you…”

The saying goes that with clothes, new are best, and with friends, old are best. I don’t know that that’s always true; there are some people come recently in my life that I would not necessarily put below those I have known for years. Nevertheless, I think a toast to old friends is in order.

10 thoughts on “The Reappearance of Old Friends

  1. “should auld acquaintance be forgot”

    toast early, avoid the New Year’s rush. ๐Ÿ™‚

    There’s only one old friend I’d like to find out about: my best buddy during art school years, 18-21, in Manhattan. We hung out together, went to midnight til dawn movies, indulged our mtual weakness for medieval costume. We were never lovers. I moved to Mass, and he went off and got swallowed up in married land. I tried to find him a few years ago, calling the only number I had: his parents. His brother answered. He took my current information, but wouldn’t give me my friend’s because “he’s married, you know!” Yeh, I knew, I wasn’t some Other Woman calling to wreck his marriage! I never got a call from my friend: I’m sure his brother never gave him the message. I did get a few mysterious calls for a few days where in which no one answered, just breathed, when I said “hello? hello?” Sad.

    • Re: “should auld acquaintance be forgot”

      “I tried to find him a few years ago, calling the only number I had: his parents. His brother answered. He took my current information, but wouldn’t give me my friend’s because ‘he’s married, you know!'”

      You’re not the first person that has ever happened to. There are a great number of people who believe that a man and a woman cannot be friends; if ever a man should talk to a woman, it’s because they want to fuck.

      And I don’t doubt but that there are some people for whom that is true. But it’s a mistake to believe that it’s true of everyone, as popular as that belief might be.

      We as a society are neurotic to the point of psychosis about sex. We’re suspicious of it; we think we see it everywhere; we believe that behind every friendly word between a man and a woman, there lurks some act of adultery. Our Puritanism about sex causes us as a society to behave in ways that are at best inconsistent and at worst downright meanspirited. Yet despite al lthis, we are a culture that worships sex, and we enshrine it in all our cultural values, and (at least according to one survey I’ve read) engage in it more frequently than the members of any other industrialized nature. We love it and hate it at the same time, and we believe that everyone, everywhere, is always doing it.

      This attitude isn’t particularly healthy, and manifests itself in the behavior of people like your friend’s brother.

  2. “should auld acquaintance be forgot”

    toast early, avoid the New Year’s rush. ๐Ÿ™‚

    There’s only one old friend I’d like to find out about: my best buddy during art school years, 18-21, in Manhattan. We hung out together, went to midnight til dawn movies, indulged our mtual weakness for medieval costume. We were never lovers. I moved to Mass, and he went off and got swallowed up in married land. I tried to find him a few years ago, calling the only number I had: his parents. His brother answered. He took my current information, but wouldn’t give me my friend’s because “he’s married, you know!” Yeh, I knew, I wasn’t some Other Woman calling to wreck his marriage! I never got a call from my friend: I’m sure his brother never gave him the message. I did get a few mysterious calls for a few days where in which no one answered, just breathed, when I said “hello? hello?” Sad.

  3. Re: “should auld acquaintance be forgot”

    “I tried to find him a few years ago, calling the only number I had: his parents. His brother answered. He took my current information, but wouldn’t give me my friend’s because ‘he’s married, you know!'”

    You’re not the first person that has ever happened to. There are a great number of people who believe that a man and a woman cannot be friends; if ever a man should talk to a woman, it’s because they want to fuck.

    And I don’t doubt but that there are some people for whom that is true. But it’s a mistake to believe that it’s true of everyone, as popular as that belief might be.

    We as a society are neurotic to the point of psychosis about sex. We’re suspicious of it; we think we see it everywhere; we believe that behind every friendly word between a man and a woman, there lurks some act of adultery. Our Puritanism about sex causes us as a society to behave in ways that are at best inconsistent and at worst downright meanspirited. Yet despite al lthis, we are a culture that worships sex, and we enshrine it in all our cultural values, and (at least according to one survey I’ve read) engage in it more frequently than the members of any other industrialized nature. We love it and hate it at the same time, and we believe that everyone, everywhere, is always doing it.

    This attitude isn’t particularly healthy, and manifests itself in the behavior of people like your friend’s brother.

    • Re: Curiousity

      I have one wife, which as far as I know is still the legal limit. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next month, we will have been together for sixteen years.

      I currently have two girlfriends, one of ten years and one of two years.

  4. Re: Curiousity

    I have one wife, which as far as I know is still the legal limit. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next month, we will have been together for sixteen years.

    I currently have two girlfriends, one of ten years and one of two years.

  5. I’ve had a lot of people fade in and out of my life. My mom moved a lot when I was a kid, (like, 2-3 times every year) so I never bothered much with keeping track of people due to the sheer magnitude of the task. A few have managed to keep up with me despite my nomadic ways – many of them adapted by learning to pencil in my address info rather than using pen…and by learning not to take it personally when I would go for long stretches without calling/writing. These habits have largely been set aside since I’m currently doing the parenting thing – kids appreciate stability, and having familiar names and faces circulating regularly around them. (I have a feeling I’ll get back to my wandering ways again someday) I’ve managed to stay friends with almost all of my exes, and I know I can call them to say hello whenever I happen into town, and vice-versa. My best friend through all of high school has turned devoutly Catholic, which leaves little for us to talk about should we get together. The best is when someone you thought bridges were burned with comes back to you after the passage of time and you realize that whatever went wrong way back when no longer matters; the fact that you can talk to each other and be comfortable in each other’s presence…that part is like riding a bicycle with some people. Then you know they’re meant to be part of your clan. Richard Bach said it best: “The bonds of true family are not of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s lives. Rarely are members of one family raised under the same roof.”

  6. I’ve had a lot of people fade in and out of my life. My mom moved a lot when I was a kid, (like, 2-3 times every year) so I never bothered much with keeping track of people due to the sheer magnitude of the task. A few have managed to keep up with me despite my nomadic ways – many of them adapted by learning to pencil in my address info rather than using pen…and by learning not to take it personally when I would go for long stretches without calling/writing. These habits have largely been set aside since I’m currently doing the parenting thing – kids appreciate stability, and having familiar names and faces circulating regularly around them. (I have a feeling I’ll get back to my wandering ways again someday) I’ve managed to stay friends with almost all of my exes, and I know I can call them to say hello whenever I happen into town, and vice-versa. My best friend through all of high school has turned devoutly Catholic, which leaves little for us to talk about should we get together. The best is when someone you thought bridges were burned with comes back to you after the passage of time and you realize that whatever went wrong way back when no longer matters; the fact that you can talk to each other and be comfortable in each other’s presence…that part is like riding a bicycle with some people. Then you know they’re meant to be part of your clan. Richard Bach said it best: “The bonds of true family are not of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s lives. Rarely are members of one family raised under the same roof.”

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