It’s been a packed weekend so far. I had dim sum with my aunt, her friends, and Chris today, and right after, I went to meet an old friend from high school who happened to be in town for coffee at Little Collins. The last time I remember having any contact with him was in 2010, and I don’t even think I’d seen him since 2008. When I used to go back home every winter and summer, he and I would always make time to meet up and have a meal together. I was at Wellesley, while he was studying at Berkeley (like the majority of my high school). He was always one of those people I knew was really smart, but a bit on the quiet side, and you could tell he had a deeper side that he didn’t always want to reveal easily.
The last I remembered, I’d e-mailed him in 2010 and never heard back. I wasn’t sure if we had just drifted or perhaps I had said something that made him not want to see me again, but I stopped making an effort until now, when he reached out to let me know he was in town and wanted to see me.
We tried to catch each other up on the last four-plus years of our respective lives since we last spoke. There were a lot of gaps to be filled, and some that were never discussed. He’s a bit more jaded now than he was the last time we were in contact, and he still asks those same esoteric questions he used to ask when we were in high school that would annoy others. He also still uses words like “alacrity” and “effervescent” just as easily as he did then. He said he cut off contact with pretty much everyone for the last three to four years, mainly out of embarrassment that it felt like everyone else’s lives were moving forward while his was not. He has since gotten a Master’s in ecology and is now looking for work and considering leaving the Bay Area. He’s realized that the world seems too small when you stay in the same place forever.
I thought about my old high school friendships for a while during my walk home. I’m still cynical, but I’ve always been cynical about why some people stay in touch and others don’t. I always used to think that if I had lost touch with someone, it was probably just meant to be and there was a reason for it whether I was aware of it or not. When I was with him today, I thought about how good it felt to be reunited with him again in the most unexpected context, and how amazing it was that so much has happened in both of our lives, yet we still mesh the same way we did over four years ago. Some things are meant to happen in the weird ways they do.