An Old-School Friendship Affair

“The Beautifully Complicated Nature of Crossing Paths With Someone for the First Time in A Long Time.”


I met up with a girl on the twenty-third who I hadn’t seen or really talked to for around three years (to be less vague, since the end of my eighth grade year). With the most honest series of truths I could ever deliver, it was probably the most generally nerve-racking yet best day of my entire life. 


My closest friends will immediately testify that visiting girls’ houses isn’t exactly out of my character. (On that note, I wouldn’t stop them from saying so), yet, someone who I hadn’t been in nearly any contact with for years is in of itself an entirely different situation.


While we merely agreed to go on a walk around her neighborhood (while so dutifully following social distancing parameters, somewhat) and catch up after being distanced throughout most of high school, we ended up going on an actual adventure beyond anything I’d done since around the time we last talked. 


We ended up playing tennis, which I hadn’t done for years, rating the different McDonald’s chicken nuggets and sauces (which I also hadn’t done for years), blasting music while driving down Thunderbird in the evening light, and talking about all of the book series we read (or struggled through, if you’re me) when we were kids. I also met her cats, which loved me and wouldn’t leave me alone (proving further to a particular reader that I am in fact a magician that can get any pet to love me). 


I suppose the question is then: “Well Aden, why are you relaying to us some time that you had with someone that seems relatively ordinary beyond the fact that someone got you to exercise?” 


I think I wanted to note on the fact that since we hadn’t really been friends or had any expectations of each other, it opened up a lot of possibilities for the day. Of course we knew each other, sort of, yet so much time had passed that I don’t think either of us really knew how hanging out after so long would go. 


The last time I saw her, I was a lot closer down to her height with a total baby face and full of youth. She had a big mop of black hair and was super ecstatic; I only knew her through her boyfriend and my friend at the time. 

Now I pulled up, taller and with a stern face (including a patchy black beard as of late), both of which are complimented by my dad-bod and low, tired voice. Her hair was cut down to a small bob with tired eyes. Frankly, both of us just grew to be so much older and different in both the face as well as character. 


It was a sight just familiar enough to be comforting and, considering that we were just familiarized enough with each other to be naturally cordial, I suppose it tied back into the line I brought up earlier regarding more opportunities to be pursued. 


So much time had passed that we were entirely different people (and still changing, especially me within the past few months alone), yet with the previously built up cordiality we had just enough of a connection to erase any awkwardness, allowing for a good set of new first impressions and a truly fun time. 


Getting to eat chicken nuggets, talk about things freely and play tennis in my blue jeans over the span of just 6 hours really helped me gain an instantaneous new perspective of both myself, the relationships I wanted to build and the people I want to be around. It also helped bolster my growing respect and love for cats. 


Now all of that is very lovely; she was absolutely lovely, and I suppose for a day I found myself acting as lovely and respectable as I ever possibly could’ve. I do think what I should customarily ask out of any readers is that: While no, you shouldn’t necessarily message someone who you haven’t spoken to in 5 years and ask them out to an evening dinner or such, I do think you should give some people out of your standard crowd a chance in an effort to gain some perspective and perhaps new friends. 


It was a nerve-wracking moment, walking up to her door afraid that I’d fail in any new-first impressions and be unable to rebuild the friendship, yet upon realizing that we were already on simply rosy terms, it gave me courage and a solid chance to be the best I could be and have an absolutely great time. 


With all of the social distancing going on, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to visit her or others any time soon with the intentions of an adventure like the one I had on the 23rd (and, perhaps for public health reasons that’s for the best.) I do feel like it was necessary to write on the beautifully surprising nature of spending time with someone in that awkward boundary of familiarity. 


It’s also always compelling to see how people change over the years. All I can say as a final note is I can only wonder how much more nerve-wracking it would be to meet up with an old flame again; truthfully, that could lead to some big-screen quality adventures.