I come east and, for a while, my world rockets backwards.
Last Thursday we go to see Ian's jazz trio play at the local winery. (Not a typo--there are indeed wineries in Connecticut, and the one in question is actually quite good.) Ian is quite possibly the sweetest, kindest, happiest person I've ever had the luck to know. We were good friends in high school, and although I've seen him only sporadically in the ensuing years, every time I do, it's as if no time at all has passed. Years and miles collapse, and I'm as close to him as I ever was. We laugh, call each other E-N and M-A, say over and over, "It's so weird," referring to a Black Point night several worlds back, the full details of which have long since fallen away.
But this much about that night we remember: for a while we go along with someone's vaguely ridiculous idea and find ourselves in Old Black Point, on a road we don't know, probably searching in vain for whoever we were meant to meet out there, for whatever it is we were meant to do. We likely never meet who we're supposed to or get where we might've been going. Instead, the rest of the group goes ahead and Ian and I start talking--about my ill-advised tangles with Dave, probably, about the darkness of the road we're on, about the unfamiliarity of wherever it is we are. We deem it all weird. Our conversation is by turns profound and heartfelt, light and goofy. It's so weird, we keep saying. So weird.
There was something about that night, our walk, that discussion, those few inky hours--something that, as pat as this will sound, yanked Ian and I together in a way we hadn't been for the rest of the summer. I went home at the end of that long evening feeling like I knew him better than I ever had, and he me, despite our long years of friendship. So weird.
We were so far from that night last Thursday, and yet, as we hugged and talked after he finished his set, as he told me about his daughter and asked me about my business, as we kept up a stream of It's so weird! and It's so good to see you, it felt like there was so little separating then and now, as if, at any moment, Jeff or Jason or Chris might call to us from down the road--What's taking you guys?--and we would quicken our pace to reach them, agreeing with their claim that the night had been a wash rather than letting on--because how could we explain?--that it hadn't. Weirdly, it hadn't.