That 15 Year Gap

mind_the_gap__12121So it’s a few days before the big Hungary/Slovakia/Poland trip and we’ve received an email from our guides listing suggested equipment.

Rain gear.

Trekking poles.

They even want us to bring hiking boots, for god’s sake.  Because it’s a hiking trip.  The nerve!

When I hike around here, even in steep terrain, I’m so unsophisticated I wear regular old running shoes.  I own a good pair of boots, sure, but they’re so stiff and serious-looking and have been unworn and shoved into the back of many closets for the last 15 years.

I found my boots yesterday.  They are filthy.  There are real live cobwebs involved, and dead spiders in the toes.  I hope like hell they fit.

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IMG_0954 - Version 2Also yesterday, I saw a great good friend I’ve not seen — like my boots — for 15 years.  Because that’s how these things happen, right??

Liz was not just a casual friend.  Liz was in the “best” category of friends.  We worked together.  We played together.  I spent many nights/weekends at her house in my pj’s drinking coffee out of my very own Minnie Mouse mug.  Her home was my home, in every way.  Our husbands were friends loooooong before Liz and I even met.  Which means, of course, that if I didn’t know Liz I wouldn’t have the family I have now.

That kind of great good friend.

And yet, life somehow happened and away we both went.

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As I drove my hours into the city yesterday, to see Liz and her family, I got to thinking about missing years.  How is it that we shove perfectly good boots and perfectly good friends into the back of the closet?  Why are we sometimes so quick to turn our backs and move on with life, to ignore or discard what’s so intrinsically valuable to us?

For 15 whole years.

15 years ago we were still writing 19** on paper checks and terrified of Y2K.  15 years ago I was in my mid-30’s and had no idea my mother was already dying.  15 years ago Liz moved to Montana and I moved to Seattle and Minneapolis and California.  15 years ago her daughters — now in college! — were such babies they hadn’t even started school yet.  15 years ago I was working on my B.A., my husband was changing jobs, my daughter had just left for college, and my son had just gotten braces.

And.  Well.  That’s how we get lost.

Which brings me back to the boots.

I bought my boots in 1999.  I bought them because we were taking our son, understandably irritated by his new mouth-hardware, on a drive across the US of A to hike the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, all culminating in Montana, where we boarded a pontoon boat and followed the Lewis & Clark trail.  We stayed with Liz and her family before getting on the boat.  I remember going to a cabin on a lake.  I remember it was unseasonably hot.  I remember going to Costco for a pie.  I remember riding a horse.

And then 1999 goes blank.

Until yesterday.

Until yesterday, when I found my boots and my friend again.  When everything still fit.  When I did my best to mind this inexplicable 15 year gap.

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What, or who, have you left for too many years?  

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14 thoughts on “That 15 Year Gap

  1. Shanna

    My reading comprehension is limited because I just spent 6 hours driving, but those boots -are- broken in, right? Please tell me they are.

    Sent from an iPhone that arbitrarily changes my words and often makes me sound illiterate.

    >

    1. Teri Post author

      We are of such like minds. Yes, they are broken in. I hiked some big hills (up and down) in them yesterday and all was well. Sheesh.

      And seriously, your new do is downright f-ing awesome. Rockstar.

  2. Liz Manley

    And that was one of the greatest surprises of my life…without a doubt. Very grateful for the past, reconnecting last night, and for what the future holds for our renewed friendship. I love you, my friend! Happy hiking!

  3. kevin77777

    What, or who, have you left for too many years?

    It’s just not playing fair, to ask us to write our own stories from your prompts. You’re supposed to be the writer, TC! It seems like such a short time since 2000 . . . I was still in computers, and all the old Cobol programmers were suddenly in high demand to verify the sky wouldn’t fall in when the clock turned 2000, cashing in on consulting contracts . . . “W” was busily winning his first election, hanging chad and all. Oh my, much water under the dam but it seems like yesterday nevertheless.

  4. Averil Dean

    I have wondered this very thing many times. I am terrible at keeping old friendships alive, which I suppose is why I have none. For me it feels like most friendships are of and for a particular time of life, and when their time is up, I simply let them go. But I’m very glad that you have rediscovered your friendship and your hiking boots—it sounds like both of them are well broken in and just as you left them.

    XO

    1. Teri Post author

      It’s certainly a lot harder when you, or they, move around to far away places.

      I’ve been thinking about new friendships, too. How very hard it is to “find your people” at this stage in life.

  5. donnaeve

    I love this post. It’s hard to think about the last fifteen years.

    Fifteen years ago…I’d been married for only three years – second time around. Fifteen years ago, I had two cats, and did not yet know the depth of love I’d feel for two little Yorkies who would enter my life in 2000 and 2001, or the loss I’d come to know when I let them go in 2012. Fifteen years ago I was working at a big tech company and like many other companies, our teams of Y2K responders spent many hours ensuring the company’s systems wouldn’t revert to 1900 instead of 2000 at the stroke of midnight. Fifteen years ago, my children were still at home. Fifteen years ago my parents were in good health. Fifteen years ago I didn’t have gray hair – actually, I didn’t know if I did or not because I was still coloring it.

    Fifteen years ago, I only dreamed about writing.

    1. Teri Post author

      Wow, Donna — you remind me that I wasn’t even dreaming about writing 15 yrs ago. I wrote my very first story about 10 years ago, and would never have imagined that writing would become such an passion / obsession for me.

      1. donnaeve

        Ditto on the passion/obsession. And interesting about your timing, b/c ten years ago, I too, began dabbling on what would be my first book…

  6. Downith

    Glad the boots are broken in.

    Fourteen years for me. That’s when I moved to the UK, leaving so much behind. I still miss those friends and catch up when I can, but there’s never enough time. And there are other friends I’ve lost touch with earlier in my life because they moved or I did. But I like to think that if we did meet up again, we’d pick up where we left off.

    Look forward to hearing about your trip.

    1. Teri Post author

      And moving across the pond has to be even harder. Add starting a family to that and …. poof.

      What’s great is that, when we see old friends again, we usually do pick right up where we left off.

  7. tedstrutz

    Looking forward to hearing all about your trip… myself I would go to eat and see art museums… but if you want to trek about in the rain, well, I guess that will make for some good stories too. Glad you found your friend… and your boots.

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