I sat down and talked with two of my friends today. I hadn’t seen them in almost a year. I hadn’t seen them both in the same place at the same time in almost four years. We had a lot of catching up to do.We went through the expected questions about my engagement and fiance and work situation. And they answered my questions about their kids’ weddings and their work situation. And we talked about getting together for dinner – the four of us – and talking some more about life.
Hannah, the wife, was the same as ever. She’s such a childlike person, it’s hard to believe she has two married kids. She possesses an almost boundless energy and an enthusiasm which could shame Barney. Nobody can fail to love her. She sat drinking her triple shot mocha and we talked about our families and change. It’s obvious she misses having young people around.
Charlie, Hannah’s husband, seemed so different than what my memory told me he was like. He was tired and a little defensive. The Charlie of my memory was open and loving – willing to give limitless hugs and could laugh at almost anything. He and I’s relationship in the past has been him asking and me answering cautiously. Back when the memory Charlie and I were around each other I always thought people were out to make me look stupid. Now I realize I usually look stupid and it’s just a matter of not caring.
Unlike Hannah, Charlie talked to me about things beyond acquaintances. We talked literature…which I was completely okay with, obviously. We compared books and psychology of books and who has time to read books and why and which ones. We also talked about Kiki and the maelstrom of Rancho Rogue’s relationships as of late. Gone were his humorous anectdotes about his youth and the maxims to forward on to the wayward sister. He didn’t spout advice. He just shook his head, and said “I don’t understand.” And I agreed with him.
And naturally our conversation led us to comparing notes on the locations and happenings of those we used to spend time with.
In the memory Charlie and I’s days, I was so insecure it was ridiculous. Most of my peers claimed I held myself to be perfect and let everyone flock around me. In reality, I always felt a little inferior. Which is why I tried to act superior. It seemed to me that it was everyone else who was doing nothing wrong and was more interesting to talk to. They were the ones without curfews and with enough time to stay up discussing the deeper things of life until the smallish hours of the morning. I pretended to have it all together because I had no clue how to fit in to this.
It turns out, I am not the only imperfect one. The majority of the Charlie Hannah gang hasn’t spoken to them in years. And they didn’t end on good notes. They tried to wheedle money or insulted them. They promised things and didn’t follow through. They took advantage. I just hid.
One person in particular had a part of our conversation that soothed me. The one who Charlie claimed “had more than enough of the gift of bullshit…it just needed to be honed to be a car salesman.” Then he laughed in the old way. And I found myself laughing too. Never had I heard this man who was so positive in my memory make a comment like that. It wasn’t shocking. I didn’t disapprove. It was so exquisitely…right…I just had to laugh. We talked about this person’s attitude and how they had practically cut off every person who ever tried to care about them. And then how they shimmied out of the blame for this. And then how they made new friends using the tragedy of their past to become who they are today. We laughed even harder. We laughed right back to the memory Charlie. I was glad to discover this. I have nothing to do with this individual’s misery or happiness. And I’m so alright with that. It was good to hear another person say it. Not say I should have been more understanding or learned my lesson or never been around them in the first place. But to say…”they’re full of bullshit and it won’t change.” They will never “get it.” Some people don’t get programming VCR’s…this person doesn’t get life.
And the new me hugged the same Hannah and the old Charlie and we all laughed and smiled and began the journey to the next place we’ll meet.