Saturday, July 08, 2006

Catching up with old friends

Sarah, me and Hilary
Sarah, me and Hilary - my best friends from school. Meeting up after 20 years.
OK, one more post about this whole Love of My Life thing, and then I'll drop it. Promise!

I think what I find so confusing about the whole "I've moved on with my life" stuff is that it sounds so serious. It feels as though, for Andy, it's a much bigger deal than I meant it to be. Or that he thinks it's a much bigger deal for me than it actually is.

The Christmas before last I went back to the UK for a few weeks and caught up with a whole bunch of people I hadn't seen for years - old schoolfriends, two ex-boyfriends, people I knew from waaaaay back. The pictures on this page are some that I took when I was over there.

I spent a few days with each person during the time I was there, met their partners, their kids, shared their lives for short while and had a wonderful time. It was as if we'd all seen each other only last week, and yet 20+ years had gone by since I had last seen some of them.

We looked at old photos, listened to the music we all loved way back then, laughed our socks off, told each other our life stories, and it was just to catch up and see how we'd all turned out.

Alan. My boyfriend from school whom I hadn't seen for nearly 25 years.
It was so easy. We realise that we're different people to who we were 20 years ago, that we've all moved on with our lives, and none of us can (or would want to) go back to the way we were (except perhaps for the lack of wrinkles, greying hair and saggy bits back then!). It wasn't a big deal at all. It was just lovely to catch up and share a bit of time together.

And so the fact that this absolutely isn't possible to do with Andy confuses me somewhat. I was actually planning to do much less with him than I did with all those other old friends. It was just going to be a cup of coffee and a chat, and that was it. I wasn't planning to stay over or anything! Nor was I planning to try and drag him away from his life, or upset it in any way. Of course not! Much as I would like things to have turned out differently, I'm still sufficiently in touch with reality to realise that this is the way it is, and nothing I do could ever change that.

I find it interesting that, at a certain age, many of us feel the need to reach out and make contact with old friends. I'm certainly not the only one doing it, although perhaps the urge has been stronger for me, as I have moved to the other side of the world in the interim. But the success of Friends Reunited and other similar websites shows me that many people enjoy finding out what happened to all those people who meant so much to you at the time, and with whom you have subsequently lost touch.

So I suppose that's what I hoped/expected with Andy too. And the fact that he's obviously so uncomfortable with that has come as something of a surprise to me - and a disappointment, of course.

Marcus. My lovely German boyfriend from 13 years ago.
I think it's the words he used, as much as anything else. "I've moved on with my life... the past is the past and I want to keep it that way, and keep it separate from my life now..." funny how I have a photographic memory for conversations, and yet sometimes I can't remember people's names (or occasionally even recognise faces)... but I digress.

Yes - the seriousness of it. It's been 20 years! I would have thought that the pain (whatever there was of it) would be long gone, erased by all the good things that have happened since. Why would there be a need to separate the past from the now? It's not as if meeting up again would do anything to change the present - how could it? Why would a simple catch-up be so threatening? That's what I don't understand.

Maybe I'm reading it all wrong. Maybe it's not threatening at all. Maybe he's completely indifferent to me now, hasn't thought about me in years, and simply can't be arsed meeting up with someone he's completely forgotten about.

Or maybe he feels so uncomfortable/sad/annoyed/whatever about the way our friendship ended that he's just not interested in doing anything that might bring it back up again (although then I go back to the "it's been 20 years!" thing and wonder how that could be). Maybe he just didn't feel like rocking the boat - although for the life of me I can't understand why meeting up would have rocked any boat in any way.

Sean, me and Kerra (and the cat)
Nativity play with Sean and his daughter Kerra (and the cat). Sandra and Sean were my best friends from 15 years ago.
"I've moved on with my life". Well yes, of course you have. So have I. We've been moving on for two decades and more. A cup of coffee and a light-hearted reminiscence over old times can do nothing to change that, and nor would I expect it to. We're different people now, with different lives and different priorities. But surely none of that would preclude us getting together for an hour or so, laughing at each other's greying hair and wrinklier faces, chatting about the things that are important to us now, and then going back to our separate lives again.

I'm impressed that he had the courage to call me up and tell me. He could have just sent me a dismissive email, after all. And the fact that he was honest instead of making some lame excuse like "oh our holiday has been extended by a couple of weeks so I'm afraid I won’t be back in time to meet up with you" is pretty brave. I'm grateful that he did think I was worth telling the truth to. Well, a part of it, anyway.

Because I'm never going to know the whole truth, am I? I know the reasons, I just don’t understand how those reasons came into being, or why. And that's the way it should be I suppose, because otherwise I'd be inside someone else's head, and that would be weird, to say the least. As Andy said: "yes, it is my decision" and of course I respect that. I may not understand it, but I do respect it.

Ah well. At least it saves me a train fare and gives me a day longer to spend with my sister and the babies. And in the end, maybe that's the most important thing.

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Chardonnay said...

It's ok WV. Sometimes we just need to talk these things out... but just please don't get me started. I enjoyed reading your retrospect. I really did. In fact, it made me think about how much better versed I am at Googling now than I was a few years ago... *g*


I don't normally do corny things like that but I felt you needed one.

webweaver said...

Awww thanks heaps for the hug chardonnay - I really appreciate it...

It's been good thinking it all out "on paper" - I find that really helps sometimes. Well, that, and asking all my friends in a whiney voice "whyyyyyyy doesn't he want to seeeee meeeeee?" heh.