Thursday, October 25, 2012

The way we were

This is how you get through life. You put one foot in front of the other. You try and walk in a straight line. You take detours, get lost, lose the map you were never given and ask people for directions that are only more contradictory and nonsensical the more you ask. Walk straight. Go right. Keep going. Turn around.

But after five years or so, everything comes full circle. Five and a half years ago I was sitting at Bondi Beach with my best friend celebrating my seventeenth birthday with the April warmth of Autumn and a bottle of baileys (because clearly, I was a young woman of class). I don't remember what we talked about. Only that we laughed and talked and jumped around in the night.

Today I sat with the same best friend at Bondi thinking about that stretch of time between our seventeen year old selves and now. Things have changed and they've stayed the same.

It's correct to say that we are not who we thought we would be. We are strange, altered versions of ourselves. The straight lines and sharp corners have been smoothed by experience. We've learned to bend, or else be broken. And we think differently and believe with more caution and wish with more thought and dream with the knowledge that it may all just come true. Because it has before.

We've dreamed of living overseas, of finding loves, of being friends throughout it all. And it happened, and we found ourselves back here - to this beach that is iconic to us in a way that has nothing to do with tourists or backpackers or billboards and everything to do with the way we were and are and will be.

And as tradition called we made new predictions, dangerous jinxes on our future selves. The only sure thing was that you never know. Because we didn't know, five and a half years ago that this is who we'd be, having been where we've been, having done what we've done. Wouldn't have guessed it.

So we blaze forward with international flight tickets in our hands, ready once again to jump off into new eras marked by job changes or residential shifts in continent, by hair cut phases and long-term relationships, by acquired tastes in wine and that bittersweet aftertaste of change and goodbye-for-nows.

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