Drinking: Only Liquids
When you move six states away from your hometown, your alma mater, and your post-college haunts, you never really have to worry that you’ll unexpectedly run into that uppity bitch who went to your high school. Or that you’ll turn down the cracker aisle in Whole Foods while wearing nubby sweat pants and lopsided pigtails and suddenly find yourself face-to-face with that certain old boyfriend. In fact, when you move so far from home, you never have to worry about running into anybody at all.
When I left Chicago six years ago, I thought that would be a really good thing. Boy and I had a huge circle of friends, acquaintances, hangers-on, and one or two arch enemies, and except for a chosen few, I wasn’t really worried about missing anybody. I was excited to start all over, to make a few less mistakes.
I’ve made some incredibly spectacular friends here on the left coast, and although my circle of people is much smaller than it was back in Illinois, it’s a wider, deeper, cozier circle. And of course I have all my extra-special long-distance lovelies from back in the days in Dixon, in Sterling, in Crystal Lake and Geneva and beyond who still ring the phone and rattle the keyboard with juicy tidbits and the latest what-have-you. Sometimes one of us even packs up bags and makes the cross-country trek to see the other and get all caught up on the kind of stuff that works best eyeball to eyeball. Some of us are still working on making the trip (Hallooo, Yearlick sisters!).
But lately it’s all those other people I’ve been wondering about. The ones who’ve dropped off the map. The ones who are un-stalkable on myspace and non-existent on google. Where are they now?
Once upon a time, some of us were thick as thieves, rollerblading around the Loop at 2 a.m. and hunting for boys and bargains at Clark & Belmont and getting into all kinds of mischief at a neverending series of suburban chain restaurants. But then we grew up, grew apart, got married, moved away, lost our cellphones, changed our email, quit our jobs, and just gradually went AWOL.
And what I want to know now is what ever happened to Bryan with a y who disappeared somewhere in rural Ohio, or his sidekick Jon and his volleyball superstars? Where is Beth, who was working on her own brand of stardom last time I saw her? What ever happened to Kevin and his courthouse beat or Corina and her long black hair? What about Michelle who used to meet me at Big Bowl for noodles, and Gayle who always dyed her hair Feria Red? What about Christina the flight attendant who got married off into Montana or Jeff who moved down south somewhere? What ever happened to Monica and Richelle, Oscar and Mike, Kelly and Steve, Janet and Christy, Brandi and Julie. What ever happened to the rest of you? Are you happy, are you healthy, are you better off now than the last time I saw you?
Where are you now?
-Lo, who probably would have gone to her 10-year reunion, if they had one.