Allusions, illusions, delusions and confusions.

Being a victim of circumstance is nothing I have ever identified with. I’ve always seen myself as a survivor of the complex, tangled and torturous misery others know as childhood.
I have few happy memories of this time period,(from age two to fifteen years), and those glimmering specks in my mind invariably involve being by myself in the backyard with the dogs or reading books by myself at school.
As introverted as I was as a kid, I did have a very close friend made at age six. I thought that if I went to play at her house it would be better than being in the crosshairs at home. Turns out my parents didn’t have the monopoly on vicious and divisive cruelty…
We are still friends as adults, though we have drifted apart a few times: during high school we weren’t quite as close as we had been as children, later again in our mid twenties the gap was widened by our priorities in regards to love life over close friendship.
Happily we were brought back together by a shared passion for team sports. Nothing as lofty as those healthy specimens who find fulfillment on weekends slogging it out in an amateur arena. No, our friendship renaissance was triggered by ice hockey. Being based in one of the world’s hottest and driest continents, this choice of sport can be viewed as an ironic metaphor and also a sweet elixir to life’s hitherto insurmountable challenges.
Between cheering on our team and swilling smuggled vodka, we discuss whatever has happened recently in our lives. Work, significant other, friends, health concerns and occasionally our family members.
Rarely do we speak of the childhood years and traumas. Briefly we may talk of previous misadventures shared in our late teens and early twenties. If we do feel nostalgic for anything from the past, it invariably involves memories of the myriad of hot, young things that were possibly stalked, caught, and then released.
Nostalgia can be a fickle mistress. I found this maxim to be annoyingly true quite recently. A male friend from high school made contact via a social network. He regaled me with his happy memories of knowing me as a young teen.
Perhaps, in hindsight, it was an ego stroke for me. Being thought of well by our peers can be a heady intoxicant.
A face to face catch up was in order, after much cyber chat and a little drunken flirting.
Unbeknownst to him, I’d had a massive crush on him during the first, teen phase of our friendship. For many reasons at that time, I could not act on my feelings. I was intrigued by the elusive possibilities of second chances.
It would seem that this sort of HEA is only found in novels and film. The details are devilish and refuse to be pinned down. I may let that story lie fallow for quite some time and oscillating perspective may provide a more optimistic epilogue.
I try to avoid nostalgia inasmuch as I do not want to go back to a certain time period long past. I do enjoy re telling stories of exciting and interesting previous episodes. This does not mean I want to return to the shores of those distant tales, I like to entertain and my best stories are those shaped, based or inspired by fact.

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40

I had lunch with a long time friend and his parents today. We hadn’t seen each other since Nov 2011, my last trip to Melbourne before I moved back here in May 2012. He’s very busy, when I had returned mid May he was overseas. He competed in the 2012 World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Championships in Los Angeles and returned home via Hawaii for a well earned, albeit short, holiday.
We had lunch at his parents’ house so I could catch up with them too. They are in the modern parlance, good people. They recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. The enormity of this milestone of commitment fries my synapses. I looked up on googs the symbol of this anniversary – Ruby. With my limited funds I got them red grapes, strawberries and a red bowl to put them in. They don’t imbibe firewater so I couldn’t give them a purloined bottle of pinot…
We had a great lunch, I told them of my weekend in Sydney (heavily edited version), a job interview with a university marketing department next week, my forays into the complex world of godchild babysitting (see previous post), my inability to land a job since arriving back and the myriad ways I have frittered away the past three jobless months. Mainly reading, sleeping and writing.
I wasn’t drinking absinthe, however I still managed to blab inappropriately about one friend and her affair with a married man, a friend with a partner who is losing their eyesight, another who is not coping with turning 40, a friend moving overseas for a semester at a US university. I have friends who have bought houses, gotten mortgages, birthed twins, coping with M.S and another couple trying to not kill each other while renovating their new home.
They told me of upcoming travel plans, their recently affianced youngest daughter. The renewal of their wedding vows at a special event hosted at the cathedral. People they know who are celebrating their 72nd year of marriage! This heady discussion of life and commitment was tempered by delicious food and chocolate ice cream for dessert. As I was tucking into my second hit of icy delight the phone rang. A lady they had known for several decades had passed away that morning, aged 86. She was fondly remembered as an avid tennis player whose age, experience and wisdom had helped many players on the court.

I realised although not everything has ‘gone to plan’ for me with the NZ relocation being revised and a premature return to Melbourne, I’m not struggling with these massive upheavals that my friends all seem to weather. I may be temporarily ‘displaced’ when it comes to a job and a home, but with the unfaltering support of my friends who are busy dealing with the Hurricane Isaac’s that life deals to everyone, I’m a very fortunate friend indeed. Here’s to anniversaries, milestones, birthdays, championships, celebrations, lunches, dinners, births, deaths, marriages and the great friends, family and significant others that make it worth getting out of bed.

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