I'd joked that my trip to New York was an attempt to refresh my accent and pick up some bagels and corn muffins, two things that really cannot be replicated. Not to say Atlanta bakers, especially at the Colonnade, don't know their way around a corn muffin, it's just that the Long Island muffins are bigger, sweeter and more textured. I miss them. I also miss the bagels though it true that one should never eat anything bigger than one's head.
Seeing old friends, especially those you haven't spoken to in 35 years, can be scary. I have no children's pictures to show off or husband to display or ex-husband to regret. My issues, such as they are, are pretty much self-inflicted and therefore less interesting. Of course, my meetings with the two pals I hadn't seen or heard from since Nixon left for Sacramento were fairly short, given the amount of "I can believe we haven't talked in so long" and the "So, what ever happened to..." This meant we were spared deeper reflections or memories. Or even the fascinating question: How did you think I'd end up?
When Jane, who I was good friends with in college but lost when she began teaching way out on the island (and married) and I left for Atlanta, ran to me, she cried "I see you in your face!" I saw her in her face too. We keep our eyes, our smiles, those nascent lines that were once only suggestions of a new map are now creased with use and well-traveled smiles.
She is also at a cross roads: retirement an option, ex-husband forgiven (more or less), children leaving.
So is Laura, though hers is quieter. Her marriage happy and intact, her daughter moving to college, her health challenging. She's more involved with her mother's care than I am with the Knuckle's but her life has a serenity that I would have forecast. Laura has a gift for happiness. Her house, like Karen's, is filled with pictures of family, something mine is decidedly not.
I saw two other friends, women I've kept up with over the years and fall in with easily. And I saw my godmother and cousin. I'm closer to these relatives than any others.
I thought I would return with some degree of insight but really, it's just been very refreshing to make these old connections. They have reminded me that despite my peripatetic work life, I do have roots.