I had already seen Danny and Michael since break started. In fact, they were a few of the first people I saw, and the first people I actually went and spent any amount of time at when I first came home. But we spent the first night catching up - which didn't really make sense to me. When I saw them, It felt like I had never left home. I was standing in the Choir room talking to dear ol' Stouffer, and Michael came up and hugged me, a scene identically to the one that played out every day of school the year before. And I walked out of the Drama club meeting and gave Danny a hug and he still smelled the same - they both did. I was expecting some pivotal moment, this pic reuinion of best friends after having been gone so long. But alas, no such thing. Michael called it "The best disappointment."
Everything feels the same. Of course, a few things seem foreign - the bare walls and empty bookshelves in my room, different soap dispensers, the height of the counters. But other than that, it's like I jumped back into my old life with both feet and made a perfect landing, with no bounce or give or need for recovery. It's almost like my life in Utah was so completely different from my one here that it was a different me that happens to be switched off right now with only my thoughts and memories of here. And I'm worried that when I go back, I'll have to go through all the heartbreak and homesickness all over again. But I hope that the me that adores my roommates and the whole college experience will switch back on when I get there. I do love and miss them.
So what does all of this have to do with Danny and Michael, or anything for that matter?
A few nights ago was the most carefree I've felt in a long time. Somewhere between a lunatic ride to Michael's house and a horrifying movie that we managed to joke our way through, I began to float. And from there, I just glided through the night.
When it came time to leave, I tagged along in helping Michael lock up St. John's. When we passed through the chapel, Michael provided us with some mood music. I pulled Danny up and we started to dance. And we danced.
"I don't know what I'm doing!"
"Neither do I! Who cares? I bet the people who made up dance moves just did whatever felt the most fun."
So that's what we did. And we made up some killer moves.
Then Danny surprised me with his new piano skills (I was genuinely impressed, he's come a long way since I left). While Michael and I danced to a song with no real beat or meter, he looked up with a sort of recognition in his eyes. Like a light bulb. And he said, "That's it."
"I can't tell you."
"Oh come on. You know how I feel about that."
"I'll tell you someday."
"I don't know."
"Good. Never tell me, then we'll stay friends forever."
And I remembered the moment that I discovered my secret.
Ever since I first heard the song, I always wondered what the secret was. I thought I had it figured out, and I kind of did. But later, something happened and I had one of those crashing realizations where everything just came together, and I knew my purpose. I wanted to shout it to everybody, but I kept it. And now I have something left to give.
All of this I contemplated as I pretended to be a ballerina under hanging lights that I imagined were floating lanterns. I doubt I'll ever again do any serious thinking anywhere else.
We finished up at the church and stopped at Danny's house. So many memories live there. Michael and I reviewed and mused over them a little, and I had a shaking awareness of a forgotten feeling - I wasn't nostalgic. This wasn't the same regretful melancholy yearning I usually feel when I get sentimental about the past. No, this was light. This was peaceful. It was easy. It was...
For the first time in so long. Happy. Not just on the surface, but with no turmoil underneath. Nothing festering, no longing, no shame, no remorse. Just happy.
I got to reminisce last night with a friend that's always held a very special place in my heart. We've always had a unique relationship, and we've been through a lot together. It's amazing the things he remembers, and I'm grateful he does. He makes up for the things I've blocked out. And man, do we have a great story to tell.
Facebook's new timeline feature has only fueled my sappy habit of looking back. And it came at the perfect time. If I called certain memories back up before I was ready, it would have broken me. But last night as I looked years back over my timeline, I could only smile. There's something so liberating at looking back at the things you never thought you'd get through. But they're over, and I gotten through. I've never felt so strong.
I can finally look at the people in my past and present with no envy, and no fear.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to dance, forever.