So here's something I've been thinking about quite a bit recently. This whole wedding experience has brought into, and sadly, yet inevitably out of, our lives a parade of long-lost friends. Which has been incredible. Especially for the Park Ridge party, I invited people with the attitude that it was basically my funeral, you know, come see me for this excuse-less occasion. Gather everyone. And that's largely what happened - fortunately, many of the most important people were in town or could swing by or could stay the whole time, and that was magnificent. But it has me thinking about friendships and debt and obligations. Justin has grad school friends who flew out for the wedding itself, and then ending that all-nighter, our hugs were only temporary goodbyes; we'd see them in a month. Now, that temporary goodbye was pretty indefinite, with no future obligations tying us together.
In hopes of getting around that, I have decidedly not fulfilled various promises I have made, especially to one particularly good and particularly old friend of mine. One year, many years ago now, for his birthday, I told him his present would be a future trip to see Blue Man Group. I had just seen it, and I knew he'd love it. We'd always been pretty inconsistent gift-givers - one year, a phone call; the next, New Pornographers and Belle and Sebastian concert tickets. So it wasn't that out of place that I piped up with this invisible present, figuring we'd work out our college vs. home schedules soon enough and go see this group of blue men do their thing.
It has yet to happen.
Notice I very much didn't say, "we never did." "We never" is such a final, dire phrase. I'd make fun of extremist Justin all the time for his petty "we never"s ("Pam! We never went bowling!"), the premise being that there is still time. ("Justin. There is still time to go bowling."). There is always still time, as long as both people are alive, and presumably both still at least theoretically interested in each other, and in doing whatever activity there is still time for. But for me, somewhere along the line, this has become a debt that, once repaid, severs one (albeit tiny) connection to my good friend Mickey. Hundreds of miles apart, we don't have too many connections that bind us, and my undelivered present has, at least to me, become one of those. Apparently I also gave him in high school an artfully rendered IOU for a pudding-filled chocolate Otis Spunkenmeyer. I guess we imagined one time how amazing such a creation would be, and it looks like I vowed to make that happen. But once I do, check! We can cross that one off the list. This list can't afford to shrink! These obligations (necessarily more specific than "I promise to come visit you"), without their date of fulfillment, are so hopeful in the saddest of ways.
Trust me, if these were to happen, I know they would be awesome memories. But without them actually happening, I look forward to them indefinitely.