Sunday, October 10, 2010

on growing up

Ten years ago my family landed in Vernon, VT, armpit of New England, ending a four year streak on the road. I had never been in one place much longer than a school year or two, and being nerdy, fat and pathologically uncool, I hadn't held on to many friendships along the way.

In this tiny town, I suffered a particularly cruel and unusual eighth grade year before moving on to the hallowed halls of academe for four blessedly continuous years of prep school. This settled stint in the foothills of the Green Mountains marked the longest consecutive stretch that I (and my three man nuclear family) found myself in one place. It wasn't perfect—I would never choose it now that age and taste have intervened—but it was close enough to home, simply by virtue of the fact that we never had to leave it.

The friends I made in that stupid town are some of the best I've ever made. As satellite students, local yokels, we were left stranded in the cow pastures when the rest of the students went home to their glamorous lives in Seoul, Sydney and Durham, NH. We spent our summers driving through corn fields and scaring each other in the dark. We played board games with my parents, we loitered in movie theatre parking lots. We did wholesome things in the name of adolescence and stealthy things in the name of adulthood. They indulged in a few illegal substances and I baked pie. We were good kids and we still are.

Saturday, the first of us got married. And so it was that the guy who once passed out under my Twister mat said "I do."

Of the four of us, I will be the last to go. I was stuck without a plus one at a table of the affianced. The wizened New Yorker drifting through bad boyfriends and irrelevant career moves and her better, more practical friends. Who—I like to think—love me in spite of my incurable self-sabotage.

We may not keep in touch as well as we should. We may not see each other more than once a year. But these guys know me (perhaps better than I know myself). They have inspired me and will inspire me for years. Someday, if I have sons, I will want to raise them to be just like them—the kind of men at a wedding who ask their spinster cat hag high school friend to dance.


Bathwater said...

You never know what fate has in store for you. Being the last to go is unpredictable at this point.

Phoenix said...

You're making me miss New Hampshire, dammit.

My group of friends is also growing up. One couple just bought a house; another is expecting their first child. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm a little weirded out but progress is the law of life, is it not? We all march merrily onwards...

Anonymous said...

I know these men and I agree they are the best and you stand among them. Clearly one of the most touching pieces I have read, because it is true. The absurdity of VT is validated because of this one simple piece. It could have only happened there. Thank you for your beautiful prose.

Theberge said...

Aww... How sweet!

Theberge said...
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