Friday, July 17, 2009
One of my two best friends from high school,
with whom I had a kind of Three Musketeers relationship, is visiting this weekend. We did the math and realize from the current ages of our children it's been twenty-five years since we were together in the flesh. We've written and e-mailed over the years to stay in touch, but this is the first real reunion we've ever had.
She's a minister now. When we were girls, she was a Goth before there was such a thing, a real Wednesday Addams, down to the long black velvet dress she often wore and her torrent of waist-length, black hair. When she was called to the ministry and went to seminary I said, "Seminary is surprising. If she had said she was joining a coven of witches or becoming a Satanist, I would have said it wasn't surprising."
It's so odd to think how our two lives have turned out. And how both of us, viewed as "outsiders" or outcasts as girls, both of us fatherless, have ended up spending a life in service to others: she to the members of her congregations and I to students. No one who knew us in high school or taught us then would, I think, believe this turn of events. Except, perhaps, our art, ballet and drama teachers.
It is rather astounding the way the lives of that bunch of hippie kids from a sleepy, dusty backwater Texas town eaten up with religion turned out: one got another Grammy this year, one was a fashion model, one is a composer who makes works for choreographers, one is an opera singer in Australia, one is a recording artist, one is a recording engineer, one was an actor off-Broadway, one is a famous Egyptologist, one is a world-famous concierge, a few are painters and professional musicians. When all is said and done, I guess, we are all alike in one way: we left and followed our youthful passions and dreams. Tonight I feel a little sorry for everyone we went to high school with who stayed behind. High school may have been the best years of their lives, their golden years. For us, the outcasts, the slow starters, it was a place and time we could not wait to leave far, far behind.