When an old friend calls

When an old friend calls

When an old friend calls you, he doesn’t ask you ‘How are you?’ he bursts into laughter. And you do too, because you were already grinning ear to ear when you saw his name on the phone. And you dashed out of your living room to find a quiet spot, so no one could find you.

He, first, tells you the joke you heard from him last, seven years ago. And you can’t stop laughing. He says he is in your city and wants to see you. You excitedly ask him “where exactly”, almost forgetting it isn’t your city anymore. You tell him you’ve moved; he says he is “coming there right now”. You almost believe him and laugh again.

You ask him if he has gotten married yet and he laughs even louder. He says he is going to beget “bastards” and that “that plan is on course”. So marriage is out of question.

He asks you if you are still seeing the same person and when you say “yes” he laughs hard and curses you. His affection is palpable.

He doesn’t waste time asking you if you’ve ‘settled down’ and gets straight to the point—“what’s happening with music?” And I say “ugh man.. don’t ask.. I’ve been all over the place.. umm..” He doesn’t allow you to hesitate any further.

He tells you that you don’t sound like yourself; “your energy is missing man” he rues.

He insists on booking you a flight and flying you down, to the city where you both met for the first time, over a decade ago; when you were all of 21 and he could see right through your bullshit, because he was 27.

He tells you how much he misses you. You tell him the same. There’s a lump in your throat and you wonder what took it so long to appear. You tell him that things are not like before. “Of course” he says, “people are busy and everyone moves on in life.”

He says he’s going to call you back at night, with the boys, after guzzling some beers. And he does. You have a few more laughs. He tells you he is "very wealthy":“I’m on a break. I am talking to my friend in this moment. And I have all the time in the world. What more do I need?”

He reminds you how ‘genuine’ feels.

You hang up and spend a quiet minute with yourself, celebrating the abundant love you’ve shared with this person.

When an old friend calls you, he hurtles you back into the past. He reminds you of all the good that has been. He reminds you who you were… and who you must aspire to be.