man and woman standing on seashore

You Can’t Make Old Friends

I talk and text with my middle school friends to this day. Some of us are going to Iceland on a group trip soon. If I’m honest, I do more texting than they do. We slowly text less and less often.

I have lost track of some people. A lot of people. People who were central to my life for a long time. With some, I reach out and it’s just like old times. We instantly remember why we were friends in the first place and long to see each other more. With others, I get no response or the reaction is muted and short. They have moved on and have no interest being in my life.

My brother bragged about how all of his old friends deleted him off Facebook for posting so much political stuff. We looked through old yearbooks and he couldn’t remember any but the people most central to his life 20 years ago.

My dad lost track of his high school friends for forty years, but now, that everyone is retiring and dying, a group of eight of them get together about once a year.

This blog is now old enough to be an adult. I’ve lived through so many iterations of myself and my life and so few people have been there to witness the changes. Most just have to take my word for it.

I write this opposite a beautiful, enchanting woman that I had a crush on in 2004. We’ve remained friends for decades as we’ve gone through cancer and divorce, heartbreak and foreign adventures, degrees in academia and life. I may see her five, ten more times before we die, but each time will be filled with a deep appreciation, not just of who we are now, but of how far we’ve come and still seem to want to be in each other’s lives.

I’m trying to organize a college reunion for everyone I knew in those days. It’s hard, because some people want to put those memories behind them, but I’ve never been able to forget the past.

The friends that knew me when I was still a lump of clay, unformed by trial and tribulation are a diminishing, non-renewable resource. There will always be fewer of them, fewer of our shared memories will be recalled. And the present me will be all that anyone recalls.

You can’t make old friends.

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