“Look at us,” he said out of the blue during our conversation, “we haven’t seen each other in at least twenty years – and it was like a week or two had passed -and nothing longer. These are the real connection – these are the connections for what is important.”
That summarized my day yesterday.
A day that started out seeing a photo on Facebook from high school classmates joking about the 25th high school reunion that everyone didn’t show up for, then ended with spending seven hours with two college friends. Sandwiched in the middle was an ongoing, snarky exchange with a childhood friend about life and the idiots we graduated high school with. (He and I have been friends since we were 10, and like the college friends, we have never lost connection even when we lost contact.
When I was reading the back and forth between all of the high school classmates, I sat here laughing at the stupidity. A joke that showed how much people still carried baggage from high school as everyone bitched about poor communication about the reunion, pointed out there was a lack of reunion schedules, and got angry that they were left out. As for me, I laughed. I laughed because I wasn’t even tagged at a classmate for that “reunion joke”. I laughed because I wouldn’t fucking care if there was one, I have better things to do than hang out with 90% of those people. I had laughed my ass off because it was a joke – yet most everyone reading it missed the joke.
Don’t get me wrong. I won’t launch into a tirade about how horrible high school was – and how I would never go back there because of the horrible treatment I experienced. Nah. High School for me was a means to an end – it was how I was going to get the fuck out of small town Iowa. So I put my head down, kept the nose to the grindstone, graduated with honors, and ran. This was my childhood home, but it never felt like a place to make my home as an adult. I needed more. I wanted more. I got more.
High school had its ups and downs. But revisiting it and reminiscing about our time as students today has never been something I need to do or want to do. I have kept my connections to those I care about – and that is all that is important.
Plus, I have spent 25 years elsewhere — home is here. Going back there is not going home anymore.
Several of my high school friends are in the same boat as me. We all live outside of that midwest bubble. We all made connections outside of the high school bubble. Being snarky about all of this goings on with my childhood friend was exactly how it should be. We were usually the ones sitting —> over there and watching anyway as we were being snarky. Funny how we fall into the old patterns even though we are far from each other.
In the afternoon, we headed to where a college friend of G’s was camping. He and G and another guy who now is local were all in the same frat together. This frat was far from what you think of as a fraternity. They had expectations of their members. They required participation in service projects, they had academic standards higher than college requirements and other frats on campus, they had athletic requirements, they had the usual social requirement, but they also had a leadership element too. These guys were a rag-tag bunch of brothers but they were united under not just the social element but they were leaders on campus.
We spent seven hours with them. And even though I was not part of their frat, we joked that they were more excited to see me than they were G. In their true frat tradition, we all got a drink of our choice and raised our glass to those of our friends who have left this plane. Four men recently passed in the last year. One after a long battle against cancer, a couple after a long battle against their internal demons, and the last one passed with only vague details being shared. After tradition was upheld, we talked – we hiked a bit – we laughed – we shared stories – we went and got a meal together as well and drank some more. As our friend commented, it was like no time had really passed.
Sitting there talking to them, it hit me. This – THIS is home.
I believe we find home in people – our people – our tribe, if you will. And no matter how scatted our tribe gets throughout the world, coming together is like coming home. There is comfort and safety and familiarity and acceptance. When people see truly you, you are home.
Where I grew up has never been that place of acceptance, of people seeing who I truly am.
My childhood friend is home.
A number of my college friends are home – and some are not.
There are people I’ve met through kink that are home – while others are not.
There are certain family members who are home while others are not.
I guess that’s why it is hard to go to a physical home.