So I’ve just realized, in the way that proves that I’m not all that bright, that while I hope and expect to see at least some of these people in some way in some place, quite a few of these fast friends I will never see again. And I don’t know, on these last meetings at lunch, at the cooler full of beer at the French House, on the walks under this hot wet sun, which will be which. It’s a real drag. A real drag that these intense, exhausting, heartbreaking, smart two weeks end in such a sudden breakaway.
It reminds me of college. The tentative, frantic, worrisome first days when it looks as if everyone has more friends than you. The terror of eating alone. The wrong turns in an alien place. The deep gratification of finally (after all of eight or ten or maybe thirteen hours) finding a friend. Finding conversation. Finding someone to get really drunk with. And settling in: the grinding, the staying up too late, the struggle of finding coffee, the struggle to get your homework done in the next hour. And then, four years later, or maybe it’s just two weeks if you’re here in Tennessee and not in years-ago college in Baltimore, that long grind somehow is over and finally you meet at your favorite bar after the ceremony and at the time it feels like just another night in a long series of nights at your favorite bar, arm to arm, hip to hip with your favorite sweaty weirdo people, and then, the next day, you wake up early and you pack your little pack and then the dorm room is empty again and where does all that dense life go and then and you are gone.