I attended a reunion of women who had worked at my old law firm this week. Going in, I really didn’t know what to expect. It was a bit like going through the looking glass. Here were people I used to spend entirely too many hours in a day with, but with whom I had lost touch after moving on to new and different experiences. Many of them are truly lovely people, especially outside of the work place. It was fun catching up on who was still with the firm, who had left and then gone back, how many children they had collected and what stage of life they were in. Some were retired, some were seeing their youngest (who had been young children when we worked together) out of college. Some had moved on to new and interesting roles as judges and activists.
I found myself a little nostalgic. What if . . . I hadn’t left. What if . . . I had done a better job staying in touch. What if . . . and then I bumped into a woman who had been such a good friend when we worked together. She looked terrific. She was the same but better. She showed me pictures of her beautiful daughter. She told me snarky stories as no one else could. I realized I had missed her terribly. As she ran out for a client call, we hugged and promised to get lunch soon.
And then, I saw another old friend across the room. I made my way over and said hello, giving her a hug. And the room chilled by several degrees. Well then. She and I had been very close. We had been part of a group of friends that disbanded over time, I thought, because of spouses and kids and commitments and jobs that took us in different directions. But usually when that’s the case, we smile broadly and say how much we miss those days and look forward to getting back to it again. Not this time. I wondered what had happened. Had I slighted her so many years ago? I couldn’t think of anything. What?
My heart a little mixed up, I made may way to my car and on home. I was so happy to have reconnected, on some level, with so many wonderful people. And I was sad that one friend was no longer that.
I remind myself that life does get in the way sometimes, and people have stories we know nothing about. I’ll keep her in my heart with the memories from our past. Safe and happy travels ahead, my dear old friend.