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Seven Years

May 17, 2009

We hugged.

“So, what has it been… seven years?”

“Yes, nearly exactly.”

“So… how have you been?”

Where do you start?

He was a quiet, shining talent with boyish good looks and unassuming charm.  For years, every Saturday night I’d turn around and look up into the church balcony to see his family filing into a pew, always a few minutes after mass had started.  I passed notes his way more times than I can remember, because every single one of my best friends had a crush on him at one point or another.  He was the star drummer from the moment he picked up a pair of sticks, and he was intelligent to boot.

He never said much, but his presence was as much a part of what made high school life worth living as was the homecoming football game and 10 hour bus trips across the state.  When, after sophomore year, his family moved to California, the class of 2004 changed noticably.  He’d left a hole in us– a hole we never did fill.

And for the next two years, the boys who stayed in touch with him via email and a phone call here and there would keep the rest of us updated– he had ended up at a private school in California and graduated a year ahead of schedule.  He was going to college in Colorado.  He was still playing his little drumming heart out.

And then the myspace and facebook revolution happened, and all of us reconnected via virtual real estate.  I said hello here and there but again, he wasn’t one for saying much.  It was enough for me, just like it was in high school, to simply know he was there, a part of my network of friends, doing his thing and once again, filling this undefinable gap.

But then one day, about a year ago, I noticed his network on facebook had changed.  He was no longer in Colorado.

He was in Nashville.

Of course, I wasn’t in Nashville at the time, but I knew I would be sooner than later, so I kept my eye on him.  It was a bit of surprise, as I’d never figured him for the country music type, but there he was in Nashville, drumming in this band or that, always country.

When I finally made it here, one of the first things I did was hop on over to his facebook page and say, “I’m here. Where can I see you play?”

And he replied, “See me play?  Oh, no, let’s grab a beer and talk.”

And last night, we finally made that happen.

Seven years later.  Seven years since the last time we’d seen each other or exchanged more than three or four words at a time.

Seven years, and he was still a quiet, shining talent with boyish good looks and unassuming charm.

But seven years had changed us a bit, as you can imagine.  We talked high school– where our friends were, what they were doing, who was married and who had kids, how we couldn’t see ourselves in that position right now at all.  But we also talked music, business, music business, family, Nashville… it turns out that he and I are in nearly the exact same places in our lives.  And to come from a tiny town in Montana like we did, end up in the same city half way across the country doing the same thing…

It’s kind of remarkable.

About four beers and four hours later, I could see the fatigue creeping into his face and I knew it was beginning to show on mine as well.  We closed out our tab and walked outside.

We hugged again.

And again.

And he said, “Lunch, sometime in the next few weeks?”

And I said, “Absolutely.”

Remarkable.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 17, 2009 4:58 pm

    indeed.

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