Friends

The world is small. This past weekend, while out for a walk with my amazing family, I watched my past crossing the street, coming right towards me. Where I could have been startled, I felt oddly peaceful, as if this were exactly how life was supposed to go: the people we know randomly appearing throughout it. Here was a dear friend, from my early days in New York, one that I had not spent time with in over a decade, suddenly standing before me on the streets of Rome.  Here to celebrate a momentous birthday, she told me another old friend, an even dearer one that had played a starring role in my life for many years was coming as well.

Joan Didion, in her amazing memoir, “The Year of Magical Thinking,” wrote of marriage:

“Marriage is memory, marriage is time…Marriage is not only time: it is also, paradoxically, the denial of time. For forty years I saw myself through John’s eyes. I did not age.”

In marriage yes, but also I think in friendship. I felt this exactly as I looked into my two old friend’s faces last night, which while being beautifully lined with age, still retained all of the memory of what had once been. As we stood in front of the majestic Santa Maria church after a wonderful dinner and celebration, we reminisced about our crazy youth and all the things we used to do, all the trouble we got in and all the trouble we somehow avoided, and I was suddenly eighteen again and everything was still to come. Time stopped, then turned backwards and suddenly my life felt miraculously long and yet so succinct as if to be held in something as small as a bottle cap. And even as I walked back home at the end of an evening that I wanted to go on just a little longer and the shadow of my years started to reach up like weights to pull me back down to now, I could do nothing but smile at all we have done, at all we have been and will continue to be and how that young girl that I was, that seemed so far away from me, is right there under the surface, just waiting for an old friend to bring her out to play, to show me that she is still there, that I am still here.

12 thoughts on “Friends

  1. This is beautiful; thanks for posting it. I had a couple of similar experiences recently, and found myself superimposing my friends’ faces in my memory over their faces across the table. Eventually, the faces merged, and there were my friends, past and present, the same but different, new and improved with age. It’s magical.

    1. Thanks, Allen. I checked out your blog, and as a dedicated Times reader, I couldn’t love it more! Will be checking in a great deal and thanks for making me laugh.

  2. As is often the case with moments like these, I am reminded of a song – Simon & Garfunkel singing “Old Friends” – and this is exactly the sentiment I got from both the song and your post…

    So well written – almost poetic!

  3. That’s exactly how I feel when I see you, Sabrina, after long absences. I love what you wrote – so beautifully said.

  4. Beautifully put. I feel this way so often, yet not often enough. That is the true beauty of friendship. By the way I love that book by Joan Didion, one of my all time favourites.

  5. I’ve had a similar “the world is small” experience, too.

    Sabrina, thank you so much for sharing your view of the world on this blog. I love how you see the beauty and the craziness of this world, without sentimentality but always with insight, warmth and humor, and with a sense of connection to the people you come across, whether they be old friends, or people you’ve just met.

    As an American who can’t travel as much as she’d like, your blog reminds me in the best way what a varied, wonderful world we all share.

    Your photos and words often make me laugh and sometimes make me cry a bit. But they always make me smile, make me think, and help me remember times I spent far from home, how those travels taught me about myself, and those precious times when far away places felt like “home”.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

  6. your writing has the most lovely way to pull me into the moment. i felt just what you did and it made me sigh and smile.

    are you packing yet? 😉

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