I think the worst thing about coming home is trying to figure out what to say to old friends and acquaintances.
What do you say?
Often, I won’t say anything at all. On the rare occasion in which I actually find the strength to do so, I tend to find myself at a loss for words. I stutter and smile. Sometimes, if I am courageous enough, I may do a Woody Allen impression.
For conversations that go beyond formalities, I will talk about how life at school is, what my grades are, and vague offerings about what life may have in store for me after school. Whenever I do this, I don’t actually know what I am talking about. I only make myself sound as though I know, so that I sound intelligent and thoughtful. Oh, the art of conversation!
I ran into an old acquaintance from high school today. At first, I almost didn’t want to talk to her. I had a thing for her in high school, and she didn’t feel the same way. Today, I’m glad that things worked out the way they did, though I was worried that it would make approaching her now awkward. I feared that time would not be on my side; that time would make things worse.
Time can make even the most casual and passive of friendships a bit strange. Time not only changes friendships, but our faces too: we appear different on the outside and think differently on the inside.
On the other hand, time is also fleeting. We do not know what tomorrow has in store for us! So, I took a deep breath and paused. Rather than rummaging through my brain for the right words, I ran up to her, wished her a Happy New Year, and gave her a hug. And in that moment the past and all thoughts of awkwardness dissolved.
I said nothing profound or fantastic. I just recognized a familiar face, and paid my respects. And for this, I am thankful. For putting the past to rest. For recognizing familiar faces. What are you thankful for today?