four years makes strangers

tonight i am thinking of lounging around in the basement of a jazz bar in edinburgh, doused in red light. we drank magners; our conversation came in snatches, drawing attention to the organist’s mustache or the solo on the upright bass. there was a thunderstorm outside; we walked back quickly down princes street, sharing an umbrella, our jeans soaked halfway up our calves.

we were sitting around a table, and i looked at each face, realizing sharply and suddenly how much we have changed. it’s true, we’ve aged. in good ways. like a cheese or wine. and like an aged cheese or wine, we’ve grown deep into ourselves, each with a strong and distinct taste. and some of these tastes don’t complement each other as well as we would have hoped.

this place is so strange: how the smallness makes us think we know each better than we do; how the fear of being unknown leads to saccharine niceness; how easy it is to accumulate insta-friends. how we live so much of our lives together and are still strangers; how we live so much of our lives alone and can still meet face-to-face, cry together, laugh together. how, suddenly, one thing shifts, and you realize: i don’t know you at all.

and i am thinking of the woman i thought i would have become by now. realizing twenty is not as old as it seemed. that, really, all this life is just one huge balancing act, and some are just naturally more graceful on their feet than i am.

1 comment:

Jessica Pearl said...

A lovely reflection. I've been thinking about Edinburgh recently too, maybe because in three months a new group of Eng Sem-ers will be arriving just as jet lagged and raw and electric and overwhelmed as we were. And they will be elated and depressed and built up and torn down like we were. And two years later they will look back and see how far from it they are. And how close.