Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Formative Years Bonding

Why is it that knowing someone a short period during your formative high school years can have an effect on you all of your life? Even with a multi-decade gap in contact, the bond is firmly in place. This phenomenon can happen between best friends who have lost touch, previous lovers, or even with the relationship you only wish you'd had.

When you are young and some of these special people disappear from you life, you might be sad or disappointed. Then, later perhaps, you forget about them-until sometime ten or more years later, you find yourself lonely or feeling depressed. You think about your youth that leads you to them-wondering where they are, what has happened to them, if they think about you. If you're ambitious, you try to search for them-unsuccessfully. The Internet hasn't been invented yet.

More time passes. You miss a reunion, and suddenly it's 30 years since you've seen your former friends, and time for another reunion. Attending with anticipation, you find many who have changed on the outside. But usually a look into their eyes brings on recognition to confirm their identification, and you pick up where you left off with if no time had passed. There are just new and different experiences to exchange.

After the event when everyone has left the gathering, your mind reviews the evening and the newly received list of classmates with their locations (for the ones who aren't lost). Suddenly, you realize how many of your special friends were missing and once again wonder where they are, what has happened to them.

With new determination you begin your search again. Now thankful for the Internet, you are able to track down some of these people. You find best friends, former acquaintances, and even the lover you wish you'd had.

Because of the new communication advantages, you are able to email and catch up on the past 30+ years. Some of the friends who also moved to the area where you now live, meet you for lunch or for fun and games on a regular basis. A few times, the object of your romantic desires attends an event and you realize how right you were all those years ago. But it appears to be too late to realize your dream.

As I prepare to attend my 40th high school reunion on South Padre Island, I will be seeing many of these people who have helped mold me into who I have become. It will be a happy weekend, assuming my old friends and that someone special shows up.

After celebrating at the event, you are once again alone, reviewing the weekend and about whom you missed again at this reunion. You're easily smiling about those who were there and how much you enjoyed interacting with them. But unfortunately, when all these thoughts have settled, you realize everyone's age and feel heart wrenching agony, realizing this might be the last time in your life you'll ever see some of them.