Inspired by and as a possible response to MCD's Response to an Old High School Friend:

How are you doing these days? I asked. . .

But what I really meant is, how am I doing in comparison?

We were all so full of potential then and I’m terrified I am the only one who didn’t fulfill mine. The more others saw in us, the greater the chance and immensity of our failure. Even the teachers seem to think you and I were some how gifted, remember? My god, what pressure!

I really did think I was in love with you back then, we were so close, such catalyst for what was the best in each of us.

I could easily fall in love with you, or more honestly with us...or with who we both were then.

That makes it sound like I think that I am nothing now, or at least less than I was, but honestly I don’t think that is the case. Rather that here is still so much to do, to see, to be; and back then I still had a whole lifetime to do it all in. Now, I see my mortality and I am already mourning the things I’ll never get to.

God, remember all those books we read? I ask, sipping my coffee.

I haven’t seen the Green Flash those sailors wrote about, but I have seen St. Elmo’s fire. One night when I was standing in the kitchen, it just ran up my sleeve, a ball of brilliant blue flames dancing toward my shoulder. It shimmered for only that moment and then returned to some alternate state. But I saw it, and it has become my tailsmen for the unexpected and the mythical embedded in common clay.

How are your folks?

I use to think that being here, living, was how we paid our debts in hell. Lately, I’ve come to realize life is actually my  vision of heaven. My seemingly dysfunctional childhood, and the latent evil of certain people was something I have come to believe I prescribed myself . I chose to experience those elements in mass and early; so that I would have truer perspective and deeper appreciation of what is good, for the rest of my life.

You haven’t changed a bit. You lie.

I may still have my looks for the most part, perhaps more so than many of our peers, but my edges are fuzzier and there are is a indelible line between my eyes that was seen only transitorily when you knew me.

We were all so breath-takingly lovely then, made more so because we didn’t know it.Our elders tried to tell us, but we couldn’t believe them.

Even when my outside was camera-ready and fantastically curved, I focused on that one blemish or the hairs that were always out of place, missing the beauty of the whole.

I kept saying that I wanted to be loved for my mind and my soul. I actually thought I meant it, not valuing being so blatantly and easily loved for my face and my body.

If I remember correctly, you were one of those who reportedly loved me. And I you.

Did you think you still loved me when we arranged to meet today? Or am I projecting?

I see you’re still charming! I observe and smile.

It’s funny to me how often people say that to me now. I am effortlessly popular with both my students and my peers.

Oh most folks still think I’m strange,  a little off kilter and decidedly not the norm, but now they call that being a free-spirit and refreshingly unique. It's weird.

Somehow, my personality has become fashionable. It's maddening. No one found me charming when I was "angry".

Back then, people use to ask me why I was so angry all the time. Like it was a choice. And I wasn't angry, I was just so repeatedly and yet surprisingly disappointed when people didn’t live up to my expectations. It seemed like everyone had clay legs rather than just clay feet. I resented what I saw as false advertising. I was always imagine the ideal, but never finding it.

Yes, I really did learn to scuba dive.

Perhaps I should apologize for having become this abberent twisted optimist when I was such a goody-two-shoe pessamist before.

God, our angst was so sexy…

 I check my watch. It's getting late, I really should get going.

I've just realized I've become a leech of someone else's ideas.  Maybe I just needed the stimulation of another's thoughts to make my own flow, a kind of mutual mental masturbation if you will. But now I'm running dry, at least until next time.

 It was so great seeing you! I stand to give you a hug.

Tell me what you've been up too. I think you asked, way back there at the beginning.

I hope this answered your question.