The sound of your past is usually held in a whisper but occasionally a note drifts forward to remind one of things they’d completely forgotten. Archived away in some recess of the mind the memory laid dormant until triggered by the sudden appearance of an old friend or the sight of a lost love.
Sometimes the experience can jolt loose a whole mental barrier and a wave of stored memories can come tumbling down, sometimes good ones you can’t believe you forgot, sometimes bad ones you wish you could. It happens a lot in a small town, although less and less as I move farther from my distant high school affiliations.
The surge of familiarity among most people, all in the same age category, forced together for years at a time. I’m sure similar connections are forged with ones military and college years but those acquaintances seem to filter out into the world more quickly for obvious reasons but in our hometowns the high school concentration stays strong.
My relationships with people I knew have shrunk like the distant light in a long tunnel, the light glimmers in the distance, one day it might fade altogether as I travel further in life. I wonder if it might be better to completely abolish the strands that thread me to my teenage associations. Then I could avoid all those awkward moments and courteous greetings with people who have virtually evolved into complete strangers. Some of them I couldn’t even stand, others I feel guilt and regret for not keeping in touch, most I will never really know again. A few I will know my entire life.
I imagine other people must feel the same. I wonder if sometimes when I pass another distant high school classmate, I haven’t seen in years, that we’re both obliging a “hello” while we’d both rather not. I just wish this awkward transitional period of my mid to upper twenties would suddenly adapt. Then I could reintroduce myself to people who have rediscovered and reinvented their identities in the near decade since we last held a conversation, I know I probably have. I could also abandoned those adolescent hostilities and ignore the few I never cared to know in the first place without wondering if they still carried a grudge.
It’s the holiday and now we see more people from the past than any other time of the year. In the past few seasons however I just feel as though I’m reaching that point of complete disconnect with my graduating class. The attached obligations are not so compelling and the courtesies once compulsively extended are no longer habit. The distance feels natural but sad because it marks the final end of an era, that I hate to admit, defined me more than perhaps any other so far.
It’s not all sad however and as some old bonds wither some swell. One of the best parts of the holiday season remains- the seeing of old friends and old friends are the closest ones. With time we’ve suffered, laughed and grown together and now those few that have stayed in contact feel more like family than any I’ve ever had. They are among the most valuable things I’ve found in life. I wish I had made more of an effort to keep more of them in my life. I wish all those home for the holidays the best, estranged or familiar. With another year just around the corner it’s good to reflect a little on the past to appreciated the future. Have a happy New Year.