I saw an old college roommate this weekend that I hadn’t seen in 10 years.
How is it that 10 years could feel both so short and so long ago at the same time?
Like, it seems like just yesterday that we were stumbling around the Caves – a wooded area filled next to campus – clutching our keg cups looking for a private place to pee.
(In retrospect, ridiculously drunk college kids + oversized, jagged rocks + a bonfire does NOT seem like the smartest combination)
And it seems like forever ago that I was 23, working for a puzzle publisher, making $22K and living with my parents.
So I wasn’t surprised to have mixed feelings when I ran into Kristen at a mini college reunion.
I mean, in the back of my mind, I KNEW she was going to be there. I knew her husband was invited, that they knew the owner of the bar, that they hung out there every once in a while.
And when she saw us, roommates she hasn’t spoken to in a decade, she felt the same way. I could see it on her face.
There’s nothing more awkward than making small talk with someone with whom you shared four very important years of your life. It’s sort of like running into an ex-boyfriend, except that you have every reason to hate the guy standing in front of you. I had no reason to hate Kristen. In fact, seeing her made me sad that we hadn’t kept in touch.
But here was a girl with whom we shared heartaches, deep secrets and way too many beers. We were there when she was homesick, when Kevin broke her heart, and when she got too drunk and sang “Short Dick Man” at the top of her lungs to an ex-hookup.
We stuck by her when seniors wanted to kick her ass, when her crazy mother called 11 times in a row, and when she needed to be carried home on her 21st birthday.
And here she was, our good old college friend, standing in front of us like a total stranger.
Our small talk went something like this:
Me: “Hi! How ARE you?”
Her: “I’m doing great! We have a 10 month old at home.”
Me: “Wow – congratulations!”
Her: “What are you up to?”
Me: “Oh, living in Connecticut and working, that’s about it.”
((horrendously awkward long moment of silence))
Her: “Life is good for me.”
Me: “That’s really great – awesome to hear.”
Her: “I can’t believe it’s been 10 years.”
Me: “Yeah, wow, I know – me neither.”
I swear – I’m super articulate and really good at making small talk.
As the evening progressed (and we kept drinking) catching up became easier. Of course, I can only remember half of what we talked about.
And at the end of the night, when we were both liquored up, we swapped emails and promised to keep in touch.
In the cab on the way home, my friends and I recapped the evening, and how weird it was seeing our old roommate Kristen.
Me: “Think we’ll hear from her?”
Tracey: “Not a shot in hell.”
Why kid ourselves, right?