I am playing Rollins Band's album, End Of The Silence
, to commemorate this moment. I just got off the phone with my friend Jake, who is married to my old roommate from college, KC. We only met when they started dating, so our friendship has always been passive
. I remember, before I made the big move to New Orleans
from Virginia, I gave them my waterbed, I broke it down and tied it to the roof of my 87 Impala and trucked it to Hagerstown, Maryland
. KC was pregnant with their first child and was quite the emotional basket case
at the time, so it was he and I that found ourselves shivering in the November cold, chain smoking in the back yard. We contemplated our futures, mine in New Orleans with my fiancée and him with his early introduction to fatherhood. We were both barely 21 at the time and scared of the future, having good reasons on both sides. Even then, four years ago, I knew he and I would be able to talk to one another, that we could reach each other across time and space
and find a familiar face.
It has been almost as long since I've seen him. More than a year ago I enlisted my friend Evonne's aid in getting my stuff that had been in storage at my now ex's parents' house in Strasburg, Virginia, whereupon we covered 3 states, visiting KC and Jake on the tail end of getting me to the airport. They now had two kids and a bigger apartment, and even then we didn't have much time, barely a few hours before Evonne had to cart me back to DC for my return flight home. It amazes me the history you can carry with someone that you don't lay eyes on for years at a time.
I catch one of them on an MSN IM from time to time; it lets me know when someone at their house has logged online. I never know who I'm talking to right away, but this time it was Jake. KC and I had had a big falling out before she dropped out of the college I graduated from and moved back home, only to get pregnant and married within the following year. It was hard to rebuild that, after so much had happened in each of our own lives, and even now it seems impossible. But I have always been able to identify with Jake. He was hard core into Henry Rollins like I was, and it was always something we could talk about with fervor, our one main link outside of the woman we were helplessly tangled up with. Despite what you know about Henry Rollins, he is quite a big enough topic of interest that when you find someone who appreciates him as much as I do, you've found an instant friend. It was like that with me and Jake.
It was no big surprise that he became the main topic of conversation tonight, when I finally got offline and decided to call Jake while KC was at the gym tonight. She had gained considerable weight after the kids were born and it had become enough of an issue between them that she had been motivated to join a health club. I had started the conversation out by trying to get advice from him about my own relationship dilemma, but I realized that he may not be the best one to get advice from, since his own take on relationships was more than a bit precarious. In his voice, I heard my own brother, who is now almost 40 and going through his second divorce with two kids in tow, who is still in Germany in the Army and still keeping up with me. I heard the voice of a man who was going to make it like my brother had made it, who would always be moving forward, despite his circumstances. It was truly inspiring to talk to him.
He is 25. I am 24. We are both realizing how old and settled in our ways we are, even being so young, how much we remember, how much we have gone through, and how, despite the outcomes, we wouldn't really want to go back and change anything. I realized that I wasn't alone. Two hours on the phone. It set my night on fire.