I was thinking last night about the tight group of friends who comprise the heart of the novel, and how so many of my favorite books, movies, and even television shows involve a central group of friends who grew up together over the years. I'm absolutely guilty of romanticizing that sort of camaraderie. We romanticize what we don't have, after all, and my life couldn't be more different than the hometown experience. I'm lucky enough to have friends all over the place, from all sorts of chapters in my life, and many of these friends are as different as could be. I love that about them. If I hadn't gone north for college, I would never have met my fantastic Boston Girls. If I hadn't gone west for graduate school, I would never have met my amazing ABQ crew (or my husband, for that matter). If I hadn't followed T out to Dallas, I would never have met the Champagne Thursday girls. And now that we're in DC, we love the new friends we've made and the new life we're creating. We are constantly evolving.
Despite the knowledge that I wouldn't trade any of what I have for staying in the same town with the same people forever, I still adore wondering what that would feel like. I'll never have kids who'll go to high school with the kids of my high school crew. Most of my high school crew left town like I did anyway. I won't see my college friends at weekend football games or alumni events. Most of us live too far away, and besides, we don't even have a football team anymore. I'm not able to walk over to my graduate school pals' house anymore for breakfast, hashing out the previous night and planning how we'll take over the world tomorrow (oh, how I could use those breakfasts these days!). Heck, my pals don't even live together any more... marriage and babies and all. Time marches on and moves us farther apart geographically. We all visit and stay in touch regularly, but still.
I understand the logic of distance, but my heart can't help but pine for one endless "Big Chill"-style reunion, minus the suicide (although the drama of one person's husband impregnating someone else in the group with his wife's permission would be... exciting?). And while my choices mean I do and always will fly around a lot to see my favorite people and their offspring, how much would I love for them to all be here with me, living in my neighborhood?
Here's a song for today from my friend Ann, who is part of my "Nightswimming" memory, and in comments notes that she feels the same way I do about that song and about that long-ago weekend. Ann left the Triangle like I did and now calls Nashville home. She sent me this clip over the weekend, which immediately prompted me to tell T to develop some Nashville clients so it'd be easier to get out there regularly. That's exactly how my world keeps getting bigger, by the way. Is it crazy that I sometimes wish it was small?
Thanks, Ann, for knowing this song would make me as happy today as it would have in 1996, sitting in your living room drinking boxed wine. I raise a glass of Franzia White Zin in your honor, and send you a long-lost hug across the airwaves.