I have a clutch of girlfriends from my childhood whose trials and tribulations are among the few things I remember with any reliable clarity, including sisters who were a year apart. Both brilliant. One was my best friend through high school, but our closeness didn’t last through college, due to some ugly incidents I never quite understood. (She made target practice of me at a public event, silencing our dinner table. The apologies that followed months later were strange and unconvincing, though she still meant a great deal to me.) Her younger sister and I remained good friends, and even shared an apartment in our post-college years.
Now through the magic of LinkedIn, T reconnects with me and sends along wedding photos of her sister’s sunset ceremony. I see my old best friend, and I am startled. She looks so young – you’d never guess this woman was over 30, never mind over 40 – as if she was the happy cousin of my best buddy in high school. We all had great, fun ambitions then, and I had very high ambitions for her.
But now she looks like someone I would know, or an aggregate I think I’d understand. Really smart, pleasant Irish-Catholic woman, but with acceptable, in-range achievements – nothing striking, or out of the ordinary. Nothing too threatening. I know where she would sit in church, what car she would have, where she would shop. But I don’t know how my old friend became this woman.