Thursday, May 8, 2008


Running into people again after some time has passed, people who used to be friends, then became not friends, without becoming enemies--friends who were misplaced like stuff that went missing during a move to a new house. Or those who did become enemies, were suddenly cut out of our lives, but now, after some time has passed, the hate has settled down to indifference.

These reunions are awkward, pleasant and unpleasant at the same time, bittersweet, especially if the people were more than just friends, but lovers, intimates, or (once) almost constant companions.

You look at these people and they are the same people--and yet we're not the same--you're not the same and they're not the same--like flowers pressed and dried between the pages of an old book. Same flowers, only the color has grayed, the suppleness is now dry and tissuey.

Buddhists (or some Buddhists) believe that emotional attachments have to be shed, that the attachments we keep up until our dying day will somehow weigh down our souls, keep us from the perfect peace, nirvana--that such attachments trap our spirits in cycles of nonstop suffering.

Attachments, which at first define us, in time will burden us ... to death, if we can't release them.

These second or third meetings with old friends or lovers, after the interval of years--even decades, make us aware of how we shed our skins over time, like snakes, we become "new creatures." The old attachments, old passions, die away--not suddenly--worse: never suddenly--the lust that boiled up into love settles into affection, a calmer, more distant feeling.

A part of us feels good about this calmer way of looking at those old friends, old lovers, and a part of us, of course, misses the little pains and worries, and especially the shots of elation, that the old passionate attachments used to give us.

But mostly, I think, we feel it is good for us (for maybe our souls) to outgrow our attachments, however sad the thought of the losses is, just to know that we continue to grow.


  1. I'm a lost soul who knew you decades past, and I still have memories of laughter in the bowels of South Carolina...everything from goose stepping maintenance men to death by cows in the highway. This afternoon at work I thought of you and google led me here. I was going to read and move on, but nope. Not to be.

    Yes re-meetings may be awkward and difficult. And yet I will always choose to believe that for some, sophomoric humor and irreverent disregard for appropriate behavior can forge a link that lasts (if only in one). People (even or especially those afflicted by the burden of stream of consciousness thought patterns) can carry any difficult conversation past decades of silence (and often do in their dusty and unused heads). Active partners in conversations and friendships, as in sex, are preferable, but not mandatory.

    I refuse to embrace the blessings/ spiritual growth/necessity of social shedding. People may not be in my life, but their echoes are ever with me. But then, what do I know -- I'm frequently wrong. Happily, I've gotten over my knee jerk inclination to apologize. I now stick with the ever classic "Bite me. Hard please."

    In my mind, we've met, had lunch while you impugned my taste in movies (not film), books (not literature), and life choices. In my mind we laughed, snorted and mocked those around us (lovingly of course). I had a blast. There were no awkward moments, just laughter.

    So maybe re-meetings aren't necessary when an individual has a healthy self indulgence in their own personal madness.

    But I will never shed you.


  2. "Never, no, never... nothing dies.
    The stream flows, the wind blows,
    cloud fleets, the heart beats.
    Nothing will die."

    from David Lynch's THE ELEPHANT MAN

    Your argument is much more beautiful and eloquent than mine; it has to be truer too.

    It is wonderful to hear from you again, Kaye. I have joyous memories of you and Sherre and Greek salads and even, unfortunately, house-burning luncheons in the bowels of South Carolina.


  3. I'm still a feta freak and have lost all inhibitions about publicly devouring pepperocini while moaning in ecstasy. Go figure. I sublimate with the best of them.

    I am far from Wilmot and Yeats...I work in IT (the horrors). For the state. Yep, I am now officially soulless. Life imitates art...I am dead but sing anyway.

  4. Hey, watch it. I'm a state employee too (community college) and only unofficially soulless.

    Feta, pepperocini, cukes, and olives--and philosophy--and democracy--and logic--not to mention pederasty and comedy--Got to love those Greeks!



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