…and I can’t. Yesterday was one of those days where time and I faced off in the ring. As I made every effort to grab it, time was bobbing and weaving like Muhammed Ali (oh, the irony of how this metaphor dates me in and of itself), coming near and taunting me, daring me to bring it and then sprinting out of my grasp. I understand why I’d never make it as a boxer – over and above my true abhorrence of being rewarded for knocking someone’s brains loose, I’d lose each match, for I think I’d keep my gloves up and my eyes closed.
I had lunch yesterday with a woman who used to work at the firm. She was a manager in the DC office – exceedingly talented and funny with professional ambitions that extended beyond the walls of a branch office. When I last heard from her she was heading to NY for a larger position in another well-known law firm. She was on her way. That we re-connected is a wonderful surprise. And when she told me that it had been seven years since we last saw each other, I was stunned. Seven years?? In seven years, lives change. She survived cancer, wrote a book, moved back to the DC area, is happily employed as the administrator for a smaller firm where she runs the operational ship. Her face still lights up when she speaks about her husband and family, she looks wonderfully the same and now has four cats instead of the two I remember. The niece and nephews who were still small children when we last spoke, are in the process of leaving from, attending and moving on after college. Excuse me? When the heck did all of this happen? I realize that time stands still for no man, but surely it would slow down for a woman – right? Just kidding…
Later in the afternoon, I spent close to two hours speaking with a woman who was my closest friend in high school and college. She was a bridesmaid at my first wedding (I’m not going there – the wedding, that is). Our last sighting was close to thirty years ago. Thirty years…decades of years cascading upon each other. She still has a laugh like a song. Her voice has the timber of someone who has had her share of weight to carry as an adult (see my earlier post about the increasing baggage we carry as we get older). Her life experiences have been varied, rich and happily more love-filled than not, though the times of ‘not’ were profound and etched tattoos that not everyone can see. I saw them – for even after thirty years I know her voice, could see her face and remember her courage and singular, determined spirit. We spoke of our respective lives today – husbands, children, careers. We tentatively went back to Jackson Heights – our friends, our parents – my memories of her mom and dad are as clear as glass – I see them in their apartment, at school events. Her mom wore Pucci (not sure if they were derivative – probably not, but either way, I loved the colors), deep, alluring voice, perhaps a bit tempermental – nonetheless, she’d come home and endure our singing to Laura Nyro and James Taylor. Her dad was elegant, soft-spoken and very tall. I remember he always seemed to look amused by the two of us. That’s probably right – we were a pretty amusing duo, even if we did take ourselves very seriously.
We will speak again and see each other at some point. We are both in no small part who we once were, and connect to that understanding with a familiar comfort that few get to re-visit. Certainly there are new loves and layers and priorities – life has happened in between these years. And that has me a little turned around this morning. So much life has happened. So much time has passed.
Another blogger celebrated her 25th birthday yesterday and was struck by how quickly she had arrived on the brink of being a grown up. I get it – even though I regard her disbelief with a smile, for she has so many more years of being tricked by time. The moments fold into each other with increasing speed, days and weeks pass and though we can live wholly and fully, we can’t hold time. And yesterday I wanted to hold it, just for a minute – look it in the eye and implore it to please, please slow down. I need a moment to take this all in with nothing else happening in the interim, while I stop and look with wonder at all that has happened over the years. All that inconsequential stuff that passed in a day that I didn’t notice, and that in retrospect make up huge, life-changing events. I don’t want to chase time, it is clearly out-pacing me. I just want to hold it still for a moment and ask what the rush is all about.