Everybody's Changing

The other day I had a sobering dream about an old friend, who we will call Michael O'Neal. This old friend was the object of my affection for many years (not to mix movie metaphors). We met to date, and it just never happened between us, and we ended up friends. But here's the secret...I always had feelings for him. The whole friendship was really just a sham, but there were good moments there, and sometimes I miss laughing with him, because we did always really have a good time together. Anyway, the friendship ended rather badly, and we never spoke again. For a while, I missed him, I don't anymore. A.P. would ask me occasionally if I thought about him, and I used to reply that sometimes I did. I missed the ability to watch stupid tv, and monologue over it and make each other cry laughing. I don't have anyone I can do that with now.

Anyway, I hadn't thought about this old friend for a long, long time, it having been about three years since we ended our friendship. Then, the other day, I had this dream. I'm not a big person to describe my dreams, but this one was rather lucid and so I'll give some brief details. We were hanging out together and he saw a wedding magazine on my floor. The magazine had a cover article about having kids. When Michael O'Neal saw it, he asked me if A.P. and I had had kids. The way he asked me this suggested that we hadn't spoken for a long time. I laughed, and told him that no, we hadn't jumped into that pool, yet. I paused, and then said, "But we did get married." He reacted surprised, and then, wouldn't you know it, I woke up!

Anyway, this dream got me thinking about Michael O'Neal, and what he was doing. Five quick Google searches later, I discovered that Michael married his Kimmy, a woman he was dating around the time we stopped being friends. And of course, we know I married my guy.

Here's the thing, I always like to picture my life in layers or chunks of time that seem to lump themselves together based on the friends, jobs, and/or experiences I have. I'm approaching 30 now, but in my mind there have only been about seven layers of my life: Under the age of 5, kindergarten through 4th grade, 5th through 8th grade, high school, college, ages 22-25, and 26 to the present. In each of those layers, I had a lot of people I was very close to in, and yet whenever I think of these people, I don't picture what they're doing now, I picture what they did then.

It is a universal truth that nobody really likes growing up. It means more lost innocence, more memories and moments gone, and more failing body parts. We hang on to our memories of a specific time in order for us be more anchored in our past. Google ruins that completely! I don't want to see Michael O'Neal married! I want to see Michael O'Neal on my old couch, in my old apartment, laughing with me.

Plus! Googling Michael O'Neal only makes me Google other old friends: HoJo and Austin from the ad agency I used to work at, Jenny-O from college, etc. Some I find, and learn that they are married and have kids, or that they've moved out of the area. Some I don't, and I forever wonder what has happened to them. And then I feel...strange. I feel this strange sensation of emptiness that everyone is changing, me included, but we are no longer able to share this news with each other. We can only search for the other from one end of a brightly lit screen.

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