My return to Indiana has provided many unexpected rewards. First, moving into a house near Lou. That was mind-boggling enough. Yesterday, I experienced yet another twist to my arrival: a reunion with 2 of my 3 college roommates.
I had not seen either of these women in many years. One, Jill, I have not seen in almost 12 years. I had never seen her children, she has never met my husband or seen my children. The other, Dana, I saw once probably 7 or 8 years ago when I lived in Chicago (where she still lives). She has never seen my children either.
In all those years with marriages, children, careers…life in general, we have all changed. But as we sat in my kitchen with 5 children running screaming around us, it seemed as if time had stopped and we were still roommates in college. The noisy beasts circling our encampment were just peripheral details. We revisited every room in our old house, reminding each other of a duty roster, pilfered food products, and general merriment as we lived through that year in college. For Jill and me, it was our senior year. For Dana and Allison (the only one missing yesterday), it was their Junior year.
Yesterday, we dragged out the obligatory yearbook and photo albums and laughed hysterically throughout the afternoon, shooing the children away so we could peruse the shadows of our pasts without interruption.
For me, they were just that: shadows. My life has taken such a course that the only interaction I have with people from college is via the occasional email and traded Christmas cards. Living in Boston, DC, Atlanta and Florida tends to remove one from that frequent exposure which comes from living close to your alma mater in Indiana.
As I sat with Jill and Dana turning the pages of the photo albums, it startled me how much I did, in fact, remember. A slight jogging of the mind and the shadows sprang to life, taking form, depth and color. And personality. I found it fascinating that all the details I thought I had forgotten, were simply hidden, in the shadows so to speak, waiting to be bidden and called out.
Whereas before I had felt simply a passerby in my tenure at this particular college, now I remembered I was a part of it. A living, breathing part of campus life, with friends, classes, professors (which includes he who must not be named), and experiences. Suddenly I remembered a part of my life, long gone but now not so far away.
I wondered, what other parts of my life in my recent past might one day be relegated to the shadows of my mind, taking the place of distant memories who now rest in the light of my mind?
The thing about shadows–they always dance and move around, flitting from one place to another as one’s position changes. I wonder what shadows of the past I will unearth tomorrow…