There’s a sadness to reunions, the good ones, the ones you actually look forward to. It’s a predictable sadness, a welcome sadness even, because the truest joys are known only by the deepest contrasts. The shadow proves the sunshine. There’s a sadness to reunions, and it is the ache of fixed sepia memories, reexamined in the fading light of short-lived todays. We recycle the past and look to the future, but we struggle to master these fleeting todays. They’re slippery things, filled with the clutter of our tangled timelines and a tide of fickle feelings. The past is predictable and the future is not, but the present is where we’re left to work out what it all means. And sometimes, when what you’re working out is the best of times with the best of friends, there just aren’t enough of these precious todays to string along together.
There’s a sadness to reunions, the good ones, the ones you actually look forward to, and if we were honest with ourselves instead of nostalgia’s willing accomplices, we’d admit up front we knew some form of the sadness was inevitable. But we lie to ourselves. Because sometimes it’s just the shove we need to enjoy the gift of a today spent sharing the past, as fleeting as it may be. ‘It’s better to have loved and lost,’ as they say, ‘than to never have loved at all.’ I don’t know that anyone makes that kind of ‘better’ their goal in the dealings of love. No one goes intentionally looking for pain. But we do search for joy, deep joy, and for the things that matter and last, and what we soon discover in this search is that these very things are impossible to know without the risk of pain. When it comes to reunions, the good ones, the ones you actually look forward to, the intersection of the predictable past and the passing present means lots of smiles, lots of laughs, lots of joy, and then… sadness. That yesterday is history. That today is quickly gone. And that tomorrow just seems so far away.
My reunion is over, and I ache in a way tonight that I have not hurt in many years. Some will not understand this and think me strange, or perhaps oversensitive. Some will laugh and shake their heads. Some will quietly think I am too stuck in memory, and others may admit it’s the very reason they did not come at all. But for all the pain now, I'm glad I came. The reward was worth the cost. The joy was worth the heartache. And I, for one, will come again.
Thanks for memories, Class of ’96. I love you guys.