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Monday, April 17, 2017

OLD FRIENDS, by Mollie Hunt

Last night I dreamed about old friends. It happens occasionally; at 64, there is more behind me than ahead, and my past covers a lot of ground. This dream was different though. Where usually I get caught up in the color and romance of a life left behind, in this dream I stood back from the misty used-to-bes, then said goodbye. I don’t know what it means. 

I know what prompted the dream, however: a few weeks ago I was contacted through Facebook by someone I haven’t seen for nearly 40 years. I met him when I was 18. The gap between then and now is virtually unfathomable. Still, he was a friend for many years so I confirmed the request without (too much) reservation. 

That was the beginning. As I read through his posts, followed links to other long ago familiar names, I discovered myself immersed in a rabbit hole of memory. Fearsome yet compelling, I moved deeper, touching, tasting, remembering things I hadn’t thought of for a long, long time. 

As I read on, however, the landscape began to change. The golden-lit past morphed into a present I didn’t understand. A new labyrinth emerged: A daughter who had recently died, a son who had taken a dark path, a dear friend who was off the grid and his kids were worried. Trying to read lives from Facebook is like seeing the ocean floor through the rolling layers of the oncoming waves: the words were there, but I could not comprehend the pictures. 

I didn’t pursue it, deciding to wait and let the stories unfold on their own. I’m not ready to embrace this long lost life just yet, so divergent from the one I’ve built for myself, brick by brick. Time to say goodbye to fantasy and greet old friends where they are now.

Maybe that’s why my dream was so mundane, bereft of all the usual passion and nostalgia. I’m 40 years past my beautiful, dramatic youth. I don’t miss it; I’m at home where I am.

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Happy reading!


  1. Your Facebook experience resonated with me. Like you, I have traveled too many metaphorical miles from my youth, my school classmates, and my hometown to return to them in real life or in memories with the open arms of reunion. The few times I've had a FB encounter from the "old days", I've found it to be uncomfortable without a smidgeon of nostalgia. I'm at home where I am, too.

    1. Thank you. It was a long road to get here and I have no desire to go back. Here's to the future!

  2. I can see how we can get a little lost in bittersweet memories. Catching up with the lives of those we once were close to can be too emotionally consuming when it comes in big doses.
    I have a friend from my childhood. We lost touch for a while, but reacquainted ourselves after that and are still friends. I did not get lost in old memories when we became reunited. It was as if we had been together the whole time. I don't think I want to reconnect with most of the people from my past though.
    I can only look in that rear view mirror to the past in glances. I have my present and my hopes for the future that may or may not come to fruition. Like you, Mollie, I am happy where I am, doing what I do.

    1. I also have a friend or two from my younger days, but they are the exception rather than the rule. I'm glad I got a chance to put some of my past behind me without regret or doubt, so I will thank Facebook for that, and move on. Thank you for your comment.