Photographs have been popping up in the oddest places. While slowly unpacking boxes from my 150th move in the past 5 years, old and/or forgotten snaps are unearthed. From the desk box, emerged a tattered envelope containing pictures from my 'surprise' party 11 or 12 years ago. My German Grandma let it slip the surprise by asking me to confirm the time it was to start. Too funny. I look so...I want to say young, but (thanks to my mother's fabulous genes, I haven't changed all that much) a more appropriate word is uncertain, hopeful; and a girl lacking any notion of the woman she'd become.
In the same box is a picture of one of my dearest girls, at ages 2. In the photo, Lorelei, a blonde angel in a puffy pink jacket and her friend Rosie are absorbed in a school project. The frame is handmade, cut from yellow and orange construction paper, decorated with the squiggles and dots of a marker. I can still see Laur running over to present it to me.
Six or seven years ago, the golden shoebox, which holds a couple of decks of cards and other odds and ends, produced a pic of the girls who warrant Most Favored Nation status. It's of a later vintage. I had already left them when Lisa sent me this pic of Laur and Allie. By then, I'd crossed the Atlantic for the first time. I had eaten brussel sprouts in Brussels, gotten lost in Rome, Marseilles, Paris and Florence; and played the balcony scene with a Napolitano Romeo in Umbria.
When the photo of my favorite girls arrived, a couple of years later; my grand adventure was over and everyday life was kicking my butt. Worse, the thought that I might not realize my dearest hopes and dreams, had reared it's ugly head. For the first time in my life I'd jettisoned a friendship, taken a full-time job, and acknowledged (if only to myself) that the kink in my health was not something I could 'power through'. In that moment, the picture of these smiling girls at the ocean was hard to take. I missed them, I missed what used to be known as my life.
When I find the picture again a few weeks ago while going through the gold shoebox for the umpteenth time (I'm sure there's something important in there that I missed last time), the girl's peek out at me. This time, I know joy with maybe a hint of nostalgia. Okay, and perhaps...perhaps, the teeniest bit of regret, sympathy for the girl I was then. The girl who had not yet learned how to reconcile the life she dreamed with the life she owned.