When I was at university, I had three extremely close friends - two guys and another girl. For five years, we had classes together every day and often met up on Saturdays as well. I'd like to say that we were inseparable but there were at least two brief periods within the five years that the group 'broke up', oozing immature anger and animosity. Thankfully, our final year together was a good one. These are people that I truly cared about and who cared for me. They had seen me at all my lows, highs, and remained true friends even when I was pig-headed and immature.
I left Australia immediately after graduation but we still managed to keep in close contact for many years. Each time I visited Brisbane and we hung out, things were always like old times. It only started evolving as we started getting married. And once there were kids in the picture, we were really down to the two emails on birthdays and Christmas each year.
Of course, each time I visited Brisbane, we still met up and tried to re-capture old times. And, its no different now. I've met up with them and everybody seems keen to get reacquainted. I mean, we have such good memories of each other but life took over and we all moved in different paths. Its almost like meeting new friends except that you have this expectation that you will click because you have in the past.
I went shopping for a birthday present for one of them today and I had no idea what to get. I thought hard about things from the past and all I came up with was that we had an old joke about him liking pink umbrellas and that he was a tea drinker. This was a guy that had told me everything about every girlfriend he had. I used to know everything about him and I was, at one time, the expert on what made him happy. It was a little saddening to feel that I knew nothing about him now. I hope he's still a tea drinker because I ended up getting him a teapot that sits on top of a tea cup.
We're all meeting up again this Saturday and I hope we'll continue to get together so that we can get past this stage of getting reacquainted. I know that we'll have to find some sort of new balance and that will take time. The fact that there are spouses around now seems to keep everyone a little more distant too. Its strange to feel the same level of awkwardness with these old friends as I would meeting up with new friends. I hope I make a good re-impression!