Two weeks ago, my sister got married. After a tumultuous month of preparations, parties, house guests, nonstop family and friends, the wedding itself, and the ensuing bridesmaid-moon I took to "relax," the whole affair has only just begun to sink in. Much of it is still just a blur — parties and faces and details are fuzzy. But last week, as I found myself on a late, turbulent flight home, a certain kind of clarity hit me like a brick, via a Ryan Adams song. One minute, I was just listening to music, and before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face.
I don't remember, were we wild and young? All that's faded into memory.
Images rushed through my head of me and my sister and our childhood friends riding bikes through the neighborhood. Of us, during the early days of being "real grown ups," throwing wild parties at our first house with our best friend. I thought of high school when we first met our exchange student, Tommy. He sat in our kitchen, bleary-eyed and exhausted, until the wee hours of the morning while my sister and I pelted him with questions.
"What sounds do animals make in German?" My 13-year-old sister asked.
"You don't drive a bike, you RIDE a bike," I heard 16-year-old me laugh.
I feel like somebody I don't know. Are we really who we used to be?
I thought of shy, nervous 19-year-old me. I watched her kiss her family goodbye and walk toward a London-bound airplane. On the other side, there would be no friends, no job, no school, no home waiting for her. She needed a change, so she jumped. My God, who was that girl?
I thought of our "new" friends, the ones we've met as adults. Are we really so much older now in our 30s than we were when we met? My sister had all our friends' kids in her wedding. I thought of all those little faces. The new generation of us. We never even considered them as we drank and smoked and danced the nights away, just a few years back. It may as well have been a lifetime ago.
And the lights will draw you in
And the dark will take you down
The night will break your heart
But only if you're lucky now
I thought of the ups and downs of what has been, relatively speaking, a short time on this earth. I thought of all the things we have loved and lost, and all the people who have come and gone.
How lucky we are to have been built up, broken down, rebuilt and reinforced by the incredible cast of humans we surround ourselves with. And how lucky we are to have been reminded of that over the course of a crazy few, love-filled weeks.
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