Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What It Meant

My little brother leaves for college tomorrow. Tonight, after dinner with Dad and my stepmom, we sat in my mother's living room when two of his friends stopped by the house to say goodbye. My brother and his buddy cracked jokes. They threw their heads back the same way when they laughed. They both stood with hands on their hips when there was a short moment of silence. On my way home I thought about when I was in high school and all of us were preparing to leave for school. I remembered the night my friend Sarah and I had said goodbye. I cried in the car as I pulled out of the parking lot. I rushed to the house of the only boy I have ever been able to hug comfortably. He cried with me. Oh how things change. In high school, friendship meant leaving a clear indication at the end of a hand written note. "BFF" meant - 'Best Friends Forever'. I never used that one. Too much commitment. I was fond of "WMB" - 'Write Me Back'. I thought it conveyed a sense of - 'I am interested in what you have to say and therefore value you as a person". Not quite as heart felt but, whatever. At 25, friendship means sitting up on the phone until your ear is red because one of you just needs to talk - and the other is the only who'll listen. It's a cold beer on a sticky Saturday night. It's making sure neither of you don't go home with the creepy guy who lives on the top of the hill. It's a quick email. A text message. A blog post. In high school, failure meant your parents would ground you. It meant you didn't study enough or pay attention enough. At 25, failure means that paranoid feeling that you've just met your destiny and you're fucked. In high school...forever lasts a lot longer. At 25, it's simply symbolic. In high school, you love everybody. At 25, everybody has a different definition of love. In high school, you think you know everything. At 25, knowing everything means that if you really want to you can get by on just a couple of hours sleep - if it means just a few more minutes before you have to say good night.