Sat on their park bench like bookends...
(sorry it's blurry - 7 year old "photographer")
Back in high school, I finally stopped unilaterally despising the music my parents listened to and finally gave it my own listen. I had been so consumed with finding my own path that I was closed off to things I eventually embraced. One of them was Simon & Garfunkel. And Paul Simon gave me the alternate title for this posting - Still Crazy After All These Years.
On the left - Kristen. My dearest, closest girlfriend from high school. Outside of my family, knows more about me than anyone on earth. You know when you first meet someone, and your brain clicks in and says to you, "Yeah, hold on to that one. They are gonna be good for you."? That's what happened to me when we met freshman year of high school. It was rocky at times, and we've argued, because everyone does, but it's all in the past. She accepts me with all the extraordinary faults, and has celebrated my weirdness since day 1. When I picked a college, I chose University of Virginia. Basically, I picked a school that was going to essentially surround me with people like her all the time.
On the right - Sean. When I was 15, I was in Godspell at his high school, and he was in the pit band, which was essentially only 5 people. First band cue practice we all met - cast and band. It's possible that within that day we became friends, but it was certainly cemented within the run of the show. One of my favorite memories of high school is before school each day senior year (I had an exchange class at his school) I would arrive, head to the library, and sit at the same table every morning with other students waiting for the first bell. He was always there with me; or maybe I was always there with him. Who knows? But we were simpatico, and always have been.
We all went to Governor's School together - one for academics, one for vocals, one for music. We've orbited around each other for decades now. I moved away, then Sean got married, then Kristen did, then I did. I had them both in my wedding. Then Sean and his wife moved away - way away, and it was much harder to be in touch. But when it mattered, we did.
Back in February, I called Kristen on a Saturday morning. I know she answered in a second because we don't talk to each other on Saturdays. We talk in stolen 3 minute increments on weekday mornings. Like moms do. Sean I hadn't spoken to on the phone since, I don't know - 2005? We'd communicated mainly via email and facebook. I really hated that he found out what happened on facebook, but I had run out of ways to call people that day. Kristen called or texted every day and was with us at the service. Sent me hilarious cards to remind me to laugh every once in a while.
Sean sent me a message on facebook at 11:00 the night Connor died. I was on my iPad, unable to sleep. We ended up chatting online for 2 hours. I told him early on the conversation that I was really having a hard time dealing with the idea that this day was going to end. It was so hard to think of the day he left us leaving, and he got it, and he kept me talking to him through the change. I finally made myself shut off at 1:00 am, but still couldn't sleep. After 45 minutes, I gave up, booted up my laptop, and wrote the first posting on this blog about what happened. That posting got far more attention than anything I have written. As of today, it has over 3000 viewings.
So when Sean told me he was going to be in Pennsylvania in July, it was something bigger intervening. Kristen and I had already made plans for a mid-July day at Sesame place with some of our children and the Imagination Movers. Without considering anything at all, I said, you should join us. He did.
Sitting on that park bench, even slightly out of focus, you can still see the young us and the current us together there. I am bracketed by people I have been lucky enough to be loved by for 25 years each. I really, really hope they know how much I love each of them too.