Tuesday, July 12, 2005

touch and go

To my surprise and delight, I got an email followed by a phone call from one of my oldest friends, a man whom I thought had been swallowed alive by the earth. He resurfaced in New York after almost a decade of silence and we told each other what the other had missed - deaths and marriages and books and children and lost loves. I could not believe the twists and turns our lives had taken, but was pleased that our roads intersected again after so long. I hope to see him, somehow, when I visit the US at year's end, because while email and telephone conversations are wonderful, there is nothing like words face-to-face.

And today, I was able to call another old friend, my best friend during my college days - and one of my best men at my wedding 10 years ago. I fault myself for the distance that grew between us during the past years, but now have a chance to bridge the years over food this weekend.

Sometimes, I tend to walk a bit faster, a bit to left or to the right, and in my determination to get to a new place, I end up leaving a few people behind. The nature of my personality is defined in part by my impatience, by my need to walk at my pace - which changes. I suffer in a large metaphorical crowd - because the pace of motion is determined by the slowest mover. I tend to break out and walk on my own. In real life, walking at the mall, my poor wife is usually behind me - not because we subscribe to the old Japanese custom of having the woman walk respectfully behind her man, but because, well, I like to walk fast.

In friendships and relationships, this sometimes gets me into terrible situations, such as when someone left behind rightfully demands why she was left behind, as if in a game of touch-and-go. If I can, when I can, I slow down, or turn back, or wait for the person to catch up. It's not something I do for everyone, but for those I care about, it's a given.

The thought of losing a valued friend is a heartwrenching thing, a black situation rectified only by the act of recovering a lost friendship.

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