I was at the pool up the street from my parents house yesterday and met with some friends from my childhood. The early 80’s pool furniture looked the same to me, though I do believe it had been long since replaced. A man in his 50’s was lying on one of the deck chairs, smoking and drinking a 40-oz. canned Natural Light. I arrived before my friends, jumped in the water, and swam vigorous laps in what was a very small pool. He tried to talk to me a few times, but I would say a few words than immediately submerge myself. I think he got the idea.
It never ceases to surprise me when I go back home and how different the perspective my child self is from my adult self. Everything is so much smaller. The large houses in my neighborhood look small, the buildings around town look small, and most definitely, the neighborhood pool looked small. Numerous memories have been made at that pool. The neighborhood kids and I would spend hours upon hours there in the hot summers. Looking at it now, I don’t know how we all fit.
My dear childhood friend was there with me whom I’ve known since the age of 5 and we laughed about our silly antics. We were misfits in our own right, but in reality we were goody-two shoes. Another friend was there I’ve known from elementary school joined us and it was great to see him. I said it was as if this scene were right out of the 60’s: lounging by the pool, drinking martinis, the lawn mower running in the background (sans the martinis). My friend’s large hat and sunglasses added to the ambiance.
Truth is, we’ve grown up. But I still feel like a kid. It concerns me that I’ll never feel grown up, but I also don’t want to. If being grown up means loosing a child-like wonder, a vivid imagination, a sense of adventure, laughter and silly playfulness I’d prefer to never be. Then I wonder, does anyone feel grown up? I look around me and most people in my age group are married with kids, have the house, go to church on Sunday’s. Is that when you feel grown up? I am not so sure even if I had those things I’d feel any different.
I would have never guessed I’d be home at that moment, sitting around the pool, chatting with old friends. I could have never foreseen what brought me home this time. I can’t even remember how I got on the plane, but here I am. I suppose that is how life is. Unexpected and so often out of our control (not to be mistaken with “out of control”). I’ve learned over these past few days that there is no right way to experience, no right way to feel, no right way to be. We all do the very best we can.
I so deeply wish the reason I came home had been different, perhaps a wedding, anniversary or special birthday. With all my heart I do. Though here I am, on my parents computer, typing away in an office that used to be part of our living room. Sleeping in a bed that is not mine, a room that once was. Looking at old photographs wondering what happened to the time and to the people I loved.
I weep for my loss, I weep for her loss. As her loss was our loss; my loss.
The world’s loss.