I experienced a flash forward last Tuesday night. And no, I’m not talking about the black-out induced, catastrophic, end-of-the-world, bad guys in masks, FBI, gotta solve the mystery before it happens again kind of Flashforward. I did not black out and have a dream about where I would be in six months. I did not freak out about the fact that I didn’t see anything during my flash forward. And I did not see weddings or babies or funerals or more bad guys in masks. (Although, I did love that show very much.)
No, the kind of flash forward I had on Tuesday was the kind where I saw where my friends and I would be 20 or 30 years from now. Two of my best friends from college made the trip from various parts of Virginia to see me in Annapolis on Tuesday. The “reason” being a Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers concert, but really just a great excuse for the three of us to reunite for the first time since the July trip to Knoxville, and a first time for Claire to see both Kirsten’s life in Arlington and mine in Annapolis.
It was also, by nature of great timing, the first opportunity for Kirsten and me to check out Claire’s engagement ring. Kyle proposed to Claire on Christmas Eve, and I could not be more excited for them.
So on Tuesday, we started the day off with a “tour” of my apartment, followed by our usual way-too-long discussion on where to eat, which resulted in a trip to Leeward Market, my go-to locale in Eastport. Three delicious meals and lots of laughter later, we stopped by my office so they could see my cubicle and the baby terrapins we are raising. And then a walking tour of downtown Annapolis.
As we walked and talked, about our jobs, our love lives, Claire’s wedding plans, and inevitably laughed A LOT, it kind of hit me that this is friendship in adulthood. Making the effort to visit your out-of-town friends. Sharing stories about the lessons we’ve learned (and the ones we haven’t). Talking about big things like weddings and babies and The Future (yes, with capital letters). We told stories we hadn’t told before about our past. Secrets we’d been keeping inside. Feelings we hadn’t previously expressed.
Over dinner and some margaritas bigger than our heads (thank you, Toro Bravo, for another spectacular experience), we reminisced about college. The ridiculous times, the mistakes, the subsequent lessons learned, the beginning of our friendship (ohhh, sophomore year…), the evolution of our friendship.
At the concert, as the youngest fans in the room, we surveyed the scene. We wrote notes back and forth on napkins and spare menu cards. We judged people (we all do it, don’t pretend). We mocked the woman there who was clearly older than the band, nodding her head (like yeah), singing all the lyrics, making ridiculous expressions. And then Claire made the most important observation of all, documented on a piece of paper for posterity:
“Head bob lady is us in 20 years.”
And a little while later:
“When I said that lady, I meant all 4 ladies = us.”
That’s when Kirsten and I realized this woman wasn’t alone. And for me, that was kind of nice. Before, I’d felt a little sad for her. But when I realized she was with her friends, all enjoying a band they loved, not caring what other people thought of them and their love of that band… then it was OK.
Because I really, really hope that it will be how we are 20 or 30 years from now. Still getting together, no matter where we are all living. To go to concerts by musicians we’ve bonded over since 2006. To celebrate special occasions. To consume Mexican and giant margaritas. To bob our heads and snap our fingers and sing along like no one can see or hear us. To keep writing notes to each other and “Facebook without a comp.” To share our lives through the good and the bad.
That’s friendship. And I’m honored to have had these two in my life for the past four years, and I’m looking forward to the next 20…30…40…however long it takes for one of us to decide we’re sick of the others. This flash forward of mine… I hope I have chances to flash forward again and again to it over the next few years, with them and several of my other friends. Because these images of what is yet to come make living in the here and now even more enjoyable.