I have a friend whom I haven’t seen in years. Over twenty years, if I’m going to be honest. We went to high school together and then went our separate ways. She’s since married, as have I. I’ve also had a child since then. But I’m pretty sure she never did start a family of her own.
We were “real close friends”, back in the day. I’m sure she even sold me my first bag of dope. Marijuana, that is. Nothing too serious, just a sandwich bag stuffed full of leafy weed. We were just stupid kids, I suppose, hanging out after school.
She also had this thing for a while going on with the female drama teacher up at the art college. That was cool, too, I guess, I said.
So anyway, now, right out of nowhere, she has blown back into town. She’s even sent me a text to say we should catch up, after explaining she’s manages a “big top” tent with which she travels the country putting on cabaret shows and such.
You’d think I’d be happy. Well, I should be, don’t you think? But I haven’t answered her text, not yet.
I mean, I still remember picking her up from the local milk-bar she worked at, when I got my first car. Or how I told her I loved her when it was obviously already hopeless, as far as our ever getting together, all that long time ago.
And as for the measure of each of our levels of success, well, she’s doing everything of which she ever dreamt. Whereas I always talked of becoming a writer; but, quite honestly, I haven’t found my wings yet.
I’m not so certain I ever will.
Sure enough, I’ve kicked around in a few deadbeat bands and written a song or two. I even wrote a novel, much to my own despair.
Nothing came of any of it. I’m still living in the same backwater we grew up in, and a good halfway to becoming a failure in my own eyes.
Close friends can do that — hold a mirror up to our lives, that is. Just by their very presence. And so maybe after such a long break in contact, as it has been in this case, it’s not our long lost friend we don’t want to see, but ourselves…
Hell, in the end, I don’t know, maybe it’s only really little children who get excited when the circus comes to town.