Tomorrow afternoon I'm heading down to Baltimore for my five-year college reunion. Five years. How is that possible? That means we've been out of college for longer than we were in college. That also means that I have known most of these people, some of the most important people in my life, for almost nine years now. That's almost a decade. And what seems like a very long time has actually gone by in the blink of an eye.
Five years. Five years following what we all in some way considered a pretty bad day. Most people I've gotten to know "on the outside," that is, outside our happy little world of college, were thrilled on their graduation days. We were a miserable group. And not just because we were cripplingly hungover and uncomfortably bloated from four years of too much beer and late night pizza. We were heartbroken that we were leaving the comfortable, happy safety net of our school and of each other.
There would be no more debate and discussion in our intimate liberal arts classrooms. There would be no more lunches under the sunshine on the quad or holiday carols sung in the chapel for us. No more little grey desks or quick steps up the old, creaking stairs of the Humanities Building because you were late for class. But most of all, there would be no more living within arm's reach of your best friends. No more late night dance parties on the regular or Sunday mornings spent on the couch in sweatpants recounting the events from the night before. No more movie marathons or Wednesday night Mug Nights. No more Paper Moon Diner or Mo-Town banana pancakes. There would be no more raiding of each others' closets because you were tired of your own clothes or pulling outside all of the living room furniture to better enjoy the lengthening days of spring. No more crawling into each other's beds to cry about a broken heart or always, always having a hand to reach out to when you needed it most.
We were off. To Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City, D.C., Pittsburgh, Bangkok, Germany. Suddenly spread across the globe like spilled grains of rice scattering across a kitchen floor. No longer in the next bedroom or down the hall or right next door or "in the boys' room."
Five years. In five years there have been weddings and law degrees. Vacations and moves. Promotions and funerals. Mistakes and lessons. Break ups and hook ups. But most importantly, there's always been Us. In the five years since I moved away from my Very Good Friends, we've continued to play exceptional roles in each other's lives. If anything, our bonds together have grown stronger with distance. We've proved -- to ourselves and to each other -- that friends as valuable as these are worth holding on to.
We send letters and make phone calls and thank god for texts. We take plane rides and long drives. Assemble by the dozens or in small groups of two. We have dinners and drinks. And drinks. And also drinks. We go dancing and touring and throw really great parties. Then wake up in the morning to find those familiar bodies spread out across the floor, on air mattresses and couches and packed together in beds. Because as long as we're together, we're happy.
And now we're headed back to where it all began. And I am very excited to be able to say to all of my friends, that I kept that promise you made me make on my wedding day. The day I married my very best friend. The one I met in our favorite small college bar and got to know during walks across campus and in our favorite class. When you hugged and congratulated me and, wiping away a few happy tears, asked me to make a promise. I'M NOT PREGNANT FOR THE FIVE YEAR REUNION! LET'S DRINK 100 BEERS!