It’s Friday afternoon. This time last week I was rushing home to get ready for a night out. The annual goth prom at my old watering hole came around again and I wanted to attend. I rarely go to clubs anymore; perhaps once or twice a year. Drinking buddies stopped texting and messaging once I kicked the sauce. Then it occurred to me that most of my friends in this city were only that: drinking buddies. Despite repeated efforts over the last couple of years to reach out and reconnect with old friends and loved ones met here in the Seattle area I rarely get a response. It inspires an odd feeling, the unanswered message. Be it text, email or hand-written (how I miss those days) it’s always a bit embarrassing and hurtful when you wait for days and weeks for an answer only to realize that there won’t be one. To put yourself out there and the effort into writing a person with the obvious intention of starting a conversation and reconnecting and to only be answered in silence.
I’m no angel and I’ve shunned my share of messages over the years from those I was not incredibly thrilled to hear from. It is something I try not to do anymore when I can help it.
This January I was thinking about the city I live in. I was thinking about my apartment, the last couple of years here and the rising cost of… everything. Rent being especially bad. I began wondering what held me to Seattle other than some technical details such as the kids’ schools, doctors and whatnot. I decided to send out one more round of “hellos” to people I had met since moving here who I had not seen in a long while. I wanted to know if there were even any old friends still interested in talking or spending time together in the future before I made a decision to possibly move out of the city. If there was anything at all tying me here other than a school district and some silly job at a bakery/cafe. I text the numbers of local friends. I sent a few emails and social networking messages. Some where people I used to spend nearly every weekend together with. I even risked contacting one or two who I wasn’t sure would want to hear from me again…
Turns out, none of them did. I have completely outgrown a friend circle or two.
Still, I missed it. I missed the dark rooms and the loud music. I missed seeing old familiar faces. I missed just losing myself in the songs sitting somewhere in the dark or out on the dance floor. So I dressed up in something black, lacy and gothy and took my boyfriend to the prom.
It was a fun night. It wasn’t magical. It wasn’t “drunken debauchery”. It was just a night hanging out and listening to music somewhere other than my own bedroom. It was an excuse to wear a dress. I’d wear them more often if they weren’t a bit of a workplace hazard. It was watching all of the different kinds of people dressed in their best dancing under the swirling lights. It was a perfectly lovely evening spent sitting with my guy and soaking in good tunes and memories. I left thinking, “This may be the last visit. We’ll see.”
I’m a bit relieved this Friday that my only plans are to shimmy into some comfortable nighttime attire and relax at home. Socializing is fun and I sometimes miss the old crowd, but it’s a past life. Back when I was drinking. Back when some nights life seemed so complicated and terrifying. When nobody had the guts to tell me that the bruises and hurt bones weren’t normal. When I didn’t even have the guts to admit to myself how bad both the abuse and drinking had gotten, even as I wiped my own blood up off the floor. It’s not a time period that I miss much. I rarely think back to it these days except when thinking about the kids. I do miss the old gang once in a while though. Every once in a blue moon I remember something small and silly and crack a smile. Old private jokes. Crazy stories about fun but ridiculous nights out. Their goofy drunk faces. Sometimes I almost remember what it felt like to rule the night like the intoxicated sirens that we were.
This life is a bit calmer and maybe it’s just what I need, though I can’t help but rail against every sign that I may be getting older in spirit. Who cares about wrinkles; I don’t want to become one of those old, dull women who sit around in chairs all day with dead eyes. Just dreaming of times passed and what could have been. Maybe I will never quite revive that twenty-something year old girl who knew how to drink like a sailor and then sweat for hours on the dance floor with the fresh lipstick kisses of several pretty ladies on her neck and cleavage. But please, Life, spare me the fate of a dead heart and sad, tired eyes. I don’t mind the quiet nights in or the smaller friend groups or the lack of high heels in my life. Just save me from dead eyes. Let me age gracefully with love and excitement still in my heart. Let me selfishly wish for that this evening.