Decompression Chamber

I spent a lovely weekend in Seattle with a friend from my original college days in Fort Collins, CO.

New friends are nice, but sometimes you want to talk to someone with whom you (a) have a deep history, (b) share a gender, and (c) are experiencing similar issues related to your age and gender, including tangled relationships, aging parents, and general questions with regard to aging ourselves. I got the opportunity to work through all of those things with her this weekend. I tend to make mountains out of molehills, always have done, and she’s much like my ex in that she balances me. She digs up and exposes the moles. She’s practical and down-to-earth to the point of dispassion, which grounds my naturally flighty and dramatic nature. It’s a bit of a rude awakening sometimes, and right now it only works for me because it comes from this person. Anyone else who might try to downplay my fears these days would get their walking papers.

My dog came with me. I have a 12-year-old, 20-lb Boston Terrier. My friend has three massive dogs, two “Bernie-doodles”, Yeti and Marley, (Bernese Mountain Dogs crossed with Standard Poodles – hypoallergenic and super friendly, albeit over 100 lbs each) and a small tank in the form of a bulldog, appropriately named Tater. They all got along swimmingly. It makes me really happy that Eden has a new pack.

We ran both mornings that I was up there, in the beauty and fog near the Puget Sound. I took photos. Sea lions barked. The damp-clad woods creaked and dripped. We panted up hills in Discovery Park and let the dogs off the leash in the fog to chase crows. It was magical. It was cleansing.

Our paths diverged long ago, and now they’re veering closer together again, both geographically and in terms of friendship. It’s a great thing to have someone in my life like this who has been there the whole time. Someone who remembers the old Tina and all the hijinks and general hooliganism we perpetrated back in the day, and is so accepting and loving toward the new Christina. In part, that acceptance of one another is easy to do because we knew each other when we were young and crazy. Those young women are 100% still IN there, they’ve just been compressed into a corner of our souls by careers and taxes and the prospect of death for ourselves and our loved ones. We’re still there. In some corner of our minds, we’re still making bad decisions, wreaking havoc, streaking around the block, doing donuts in her Mustang, and sleeping with questionable guys just because they ride skateboards and have compelling eyes.

Now we’re just going to work on time, making decisions that have a more profound effect on the people and world around us, paying our bills and making sure that our driver’s licenses haven’t expired. But we have not forgotten the good old days (were they?), and it’s fun to revisit those times and examine the journeys that have brought us to where we are today.

We’re us, then and now.

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