Tonight is the night for Capricorns and Celeste and I are in full effect at our first party together in years. We’ve known each other for ten years and change, through lovers and drugs and graduations and heartaches. The party is at her house, in NE, and it feels like that old TV show, “This is Your Life.”
Jenn comes, who I’ve known since I was 16. We served as camp counselors together at YMCA Camp Collins, I officiated her wedding, waited eagerly for the news of her first born, and now we’re seeing each other through grad school and nursing school.
Lise and Peter come, my teachers from Montessori school, where they guided me from ages six through ten. When they walk in the door the connection is instant, and this is how it is with my Montessori friends – but particularly with my former teachers. Standing in the tight space of the kitchen hallway with them, I experienced a sudden awareness of the ground beneath my feet, the pull I felt from the center of the room, the city block, the state, the continent, the globe. In other words, when Lise and David look at me – still, after all these years – I can feel that they’re holding all the faith of the world in me. They see my potential and believe in it, which is of course the greatest gift a teacher can give to a student. Can they possibly know, after all these years, how much that means?
Dave comes down from Seattle for the weekend, and if tonight was my night on “This is Your Life,” he covers nine years of it. Through thick and thin, love and distance, advice and lovesick nights, our friendship has prevailed. And even though the loving was good when it was there, the friendship and laughter, the deep trust and life experiences we’ve had are what prevail so many years later.
And where past meets present, Joy and Casse and G come from the MFA program and we talk shop. Casse is in full effect, all argyle and train-stopping tweed hat with a firm bill. She blushes the color of pomegranate when I announce her new book of poetry, though later she’ll confess to me that the next book – a solo production – should be shelved in Powell’s near Gailey and Gallagher. Not a bad pair of neighbors. But the best part is when she lets loose with her friend Mo, who challenges her to name six famous people from Indiana (her home state). She is piss and vinegar, sweet and sour, hot and spicy all in one – yet not a bundle of clichés as all. Unstoppable, un-namable – full of gesture and wit and sock-it-to-ya’ know-how. And she is here. Tonight. In an houseful of people who she doesn’t know. To celebrate my birthday.
Does it get any better than this?