Not too long ago, Paul and I were talking, and I have no recollection what brought this up, but Paul stated that THIS was the best time of his life. With his work, and with me and Madison – THIS was the best time of his life.
“Mine was college,“ I stated emphatically. He waited a beat, looked intently at me, and re-stated his claim. Rolling my eyes, I replied, “Yeah, I heard you; mine was college.“
And then it hit me. Uh Oh! “Well, I mean, no, obviously, but then, well, you know…“ I trailed off with my incoherent attempt to hide my colossal blunder. We still laugh about it today though. (Well, at least I do; he seems a bit bitter.)
Yesterday, Paul and I drove to Chapel Hill to see our favorite drum major and watch a little of the game that is strategically played on either side of halftime - when the band plays.
Just as we pulled into parking, my phone dinged with a text from Melinda, my college roommate. “Are you in Chapel Hill?“ she asked. “Yes, why?”
Melinda and I lived together for three years in college, but had not seen each other in at least 15 years. We had kept in touch, but hadn’t actually gotten together. She lives in Raleigh and is very busy teaching school and raising a family. I live in Charlotte, busy with my work, and my family.
As fate would have it, both of our daughters are now attending UNC – mine as a senior and hers as a freshman. We started emailing and texting more frequently.
Parents’ weekend is October 7; Melinda and her husband have tickets; Paul and I have tickets as well. Melinda and I made plans that we would meet up that weekend. That’s why I was surprised she was texting me now. She and her husband had gotten last minute tickets to this game. We were going to see each other now.
When we spotted each other, we hugged and talked and couldn’t quit smiling. It was a wonderful day. We looked around us – took in the college vibe. Did we ever dress like that? Did we ever act like that?
She knows my college shenanigans, and I know hers, and let’s just say, if either one of us wanted to blackmail the other, the hardest part would be deciding which damning story to use.
As we sat, looking around and soaking it all in, it was obvious that times have changed. It is no longer our time for this. It’s theirs. The students were at the game, making their own memories, (if they can remember them this morning that is).
I wouldn’t take a million dollars for my college memories or friendships, and I will accept that I am wiser for having survived them. Jonathan Swift once said, “No wise [person] ever wishes to be younger.” I guess once is enough if you do it right.