Reunion

Bolinas Beach bathed in winter sunlight, soft and rose-toned. One of those magical days that makes you think that Heaven must look like California.  Easy laughter. Long stretch of sand, open, free.  We have come home, and here we are, on a Saturday where the light looks like a fairy tale, remembering one another again.

My friend turns to me and asks,

“It’s funny, isn’t it? The way everything is different, but also—also exactly the same?”

I smile and nod, because I understand.

Yes.

Yes, she lives just outside Boston now, studying engineering, and I couldn’t tell you what her days are like.  Couldn’t tell you who she eats breakfast with or what time she wakes up or what her bedspread looks like.

And the girl next to her, the one I stayed up with until 5 am the day after we graduated high school? The one I say  “I love you” to whenever we hang up the phone? That girl? She lives in British Columbia now. She sends me pictures of her bundled in a big winter coat, looking surprised.

And yet.

Looking into the engineering student’s bright brown eyes, wrapped in her borrowed sweater, I see too that she is right.

In some ways, some essential ways, things are still the same as they have always been.

Still we walk along the water, and still the dog runs ahead of us, oblivious, content. We share a picnic of goat cheese and bright Satsuma oranges, their fragrance like perfume. We swap stories, comparing and contrasting our months away. We ask after each other’s families.

We still love those families.

I still take long hikes with my mother, wandering through the forest in happy silence.

I still help make dinner, mixing salad dressing and chopping cucumbers.

I still watch movies with my family, laughing at my little brother’s running commentary.

When I do the laundry, I still know just where everything goes, whose shirt is whose.

The fabric of my being, the memories I am woven from, they remain.

Still.

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