From there to here

We sat next to each other on Kat and Sean's slipcovered sofa, in the living room that, over the past week, had begun to exhibit definite signs of habitation by its new owners. We were spread somewhere between the fullness of dinner and the cheerful obnoxiousness that was an evening of gaming with the wondergeeks. He flashed a grin at me and said, "You realize that as of next year, we'll have known each other for over half of our lives?"

I tried to count back without using my fingers, failed, and said, "Has it really been that long?"

"It was the summer of 1990 when we met," he confirmed. Yes, indeed—summer of 1990—before our birthdays, so we would have been square in the midst of the gawky year of 13.

Writers shouldn't be allowed to use phrases like "In the meantime, everything changed," regardless of the amount of truth such a statement might contain. It's too easy of a way to skip over the formative events between then and now, sacrificing story for speed.

What a quaint little story it's been: twelve years in which we've never lived in the same town, never gone to the same school, but never quite managed to lose touch. Even now, when having him (and his exceedingly lovely—and aptly named—wife, Joy) here, it may still take a while to get over the discontinuity of crossover, but it's still just as worthwhile as it's always been.

How to explain that sentence without saying "In the meantime, everything changed," when in fact it did? College degrees and marriages for both of us, moving away, and having to start our lives almost completely over.

Perhaps Andrew doesn't have the same "Before Marriage" and "After Marriage" mental divisions in his life that I have in mine, but for me, they're both very strong and very real. Few of my friends leapt the boundary; partly because I drifted away from many of them, and most of those remaining just didn't feel the need to try to keep in touch with someone who had immediate plans to move out of state immediately after graduation.

I am not embarrassed to introduce friends from my 'old' life to friends from my 'new' one. While I have nothing to hide, it's difficult to explain those who came before to those who came after, because they have no frame of reference for my life before.

Many of them have never been to Arkansas, much less Tull, nor seen the places where I went to school, nor met anyone from my family besides my parents (and them, only once or twice).

Most of the people I know now—the after—have only known the married-and-settled version of me, and they take for granted my relationship with Jeff that, not too many years ago, generated a good bit of juicy gossip amongst anyone who knew either of us. (She met him how? Where? Seven hours apart? The… internet? Ew! How weird is THAT? But they seem so … normal … now!)

Andrew's one of the few people still around who knows the whole story about the process of getting from there to here. (The astute reader will wonder at the lack of a tell-all. Ever heard of the phrase 'mutually assured destruction'? That, and the phrase 'mutual blackmail' should sum it up nicely. There's no such thing as a good photo from when you were thirteen.) There's so much comfort in shared history, in being able to leave many of the obvious things unsaid.

Either way, it's hard not to sit on the couch, count the years, and wonder at how much of a good-natured giggle we're getting at each other's expense.

Oh, well. We've got to get our laughs somehow.

* * * * * *

In the meantime, I hope this entry finds you all well. I've been varying combinations of busy, tired, and away, thus limiting my writing time (and that's when our cable modem was actually working properly). The commenting system on Quarto is about 90% functional, which is cheering; it looks like I will make my self-imposed deadline and have this site running on Quarto by the end of the month.

Have I mentioned lately that life is good?

If not, consider it mentioned.


Esta vida es buena, indeed. What I find interesting nowadays is that, for the most part, I've known all of you around a year. I then stop and realize that I've known Rick for six years. I think that he can attest to the fact that I am very much different and yet very much the same. Of course, Rick is the same way. You're lucky, in many ways, to have someone like Andrew who's seen you across that time. Of all of my friends that I regularly commiserate with, I've known Rick the longest. That's unsurprising for a military brat; this, my sixth year in Huntsville, is longer than I've lived in any one place in my life save Ohio. By the time I leave, I will have lived here longer than any other place. "So, what's it like to have a life-long friend that you never completely lose?" I can't help but wistfully wonder.

I'm with Geof on this.. I wod wonder what it is like to have a friend for that amount of time. I look at my mom and her friend Tammy. They grew up down the street from each other and have known each other since elementary school. They were college rommmates. They still get together every time my mom gets up to Indianapolis. From the time I was 4 until I left for MSMS, I lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The problem I ran into is that my friends kept moving away. There was Beau, Chan, Shane, Erica, and Jennifer. When Erica and Jennifer moved away, Doug and I were the only ones left, but then I left for MSMS a year later and our lives divereged quite rapidly. I've known Geof and Jonathan for 6 years and it looks like both will be here in Huntsville for at least a few more years to come. Then I've also got Jessica who I've known for 5 years now :-) I love you guys!

Awww. [Bug is moving to town permanently? Another AdTran drone? Cool!]

Andrew's definitely the exception to the rule. When I graduated from high school in '94, I moved away from about 99% of the people I'd grown up with. Two years later, I changed schools. Of all the people I was friends with at Hendrix, I've kept in touch with a grand total of four -- Monica, Colter, Eleanor, and Susan. Two years later, I graduated from college. I've kept in touch with no one that I knew from UCA. Jeff and I got married a couple of weeks after graduation, and I joined him here in Huntsville shortly thereafter. I told him I wanted roots. Roots like the ones I'd had for the first sixteen years of my life. Since I was moving away from all of my family, it was up to me to create something in its place. I always wanted to have a brother. So I became a geek female and adopted mah geekboys. Guess I'll have to play kooky Auntie Domesticat to their kids once they start having kids... Muahahahahahahaha.

My family moved a bunch while I grew up, so "roots" equated to wherever my parents and I were at the time. I have kept up with no one before I moved to Alabama. I have a few friends from the pre-college years; Ben, my best friend from high school, and Jeff and Daniel, of the original flogeeks. Other than that, my friends constitute the people I met in Huntsville. Moving around the country was always easy for me; I had my parents, and I never had more than a couple of friends. I didn't realize until after I was in DC that this move was different. I had left my parents in Alabama, as well as the Cabal, my secondary family. Of course, I have Andy here, as well as Rob and Andy's friend Jen. Let's just say, I've missed you guys. I cannot wait for the fest in October, and I'll be coming south at least once in the fall.

You wanted a brother ... and then you gained Sean, me, Jeremy, and Rick. /me looks around the room /me laughs uncontrollably

Actually, it's more than that. Dan. Brad. Andy. jowilson. etc. There were others before you. :)

Well, yes, sure. I know that there were many before you ... but you can reach out and touch all of us. I was referring to what you said about putting roots down here. :)