20ish years ago, I had a brief but very intense relationship with a man who has remained a close friend to this day. It was a classic case of wrong timing, though I also believe we are better friends now than we would be partners had we continued down that path. Anyway, you'd think that after 20 years, I'd remember his birthday (after all, he remembers mine every year), and I thought I did - August 27. Except that when I went to check his email address this morning, I noticed I was wrong. His birthday was the 24th. So instead of sending a "Happy Birthday" Rubber Chicken card, I sent a "Happy Belated Birthday" one.
This afternoon, I received an iMessage from him (for non-Apple folks, it's Apple's proprietary texting app, which means that I can text with him for free, even though he's in Australia and I'm in Canada). We had the most lovely conversation - as we always do - and that was a huge gift for me.
Before he texted me, I unexpectedly ran into another old friend while I was walking. I didn't recognize him at first, since he's from Toronto, and I was doing my usual walk on the waterfront. Turns out his parents live a few towns away, and he was out here for their golden anniversary. I had such a complex reaction to seeing him. Thrilled, because I really like this man, and at one point in my life (about 15 years ago), he'd been someone I considered a fairly close friend. Then something happened, and I have no idea what, but he backed off. I tried talking to him about it, but I didn't (and don't think I ever will) get a clear answer. It made me think of how many of my friendships have fallen by the wayside for reasons I don't understand. And wondering about the ways in which I played a role in that happening. And it made me miss the friends I had in Toronto, even though that was a different life and a different time. So I was in a pensive mood when my ex's text came in, and it cheered me up to know that there's someone from my past who still cherishes me.
My ex and I took vastly different life paths, and he has intense curiosity about (and respect for) the choices I've made - many of which are elements of this maybe-book-thing I'm sort of kind of writing about - so it was cool to be able to communicate about that. The more I answer other people's questions, the clearer it becomes in my own mind.
Today was filled with blasts from the past, as I emailed a few people I haven't spoken to in a long time. Some have stayed in touch; most haven't. My emails were a mixture of catching up and work-related, since many of those old friends are also writers - and some are long-ago clients. I don't think I'm doing a good job of communicating this, but it was a time-warp of a day!
I also took a photo for a family and bussed some tables at the coffee shop. Secondary gifts, but intentional nonetheless.
Hope you all had a good Monday (as good as can be). Cheers!