There is comfort in the knowledge that so many things were unchanged. At dinner last night my friends and I fit so well, as if no time had passed. They appreciate, and even enjoy, my humor, the things I like, and even my stupid obsession with "that's what s/he said jokes". (Once I start I can't stop.... that's what he said). The love me as much as I love them, which is so weird, and there's a connection I don't have here yet.
It helps that the reasons I hate Atlanta were eliminated. With such a time crunch, I wasn't left in the lurch for a ride, ever. Boston has conditioned me so that the walking I did do was easier. The weather was gorgeous and every moment spent cruising down North Druid Hills with the windows down and the radio blasting in my friends' cars felt like stolen pieces of Edenic bliss I won't find anywhere else.
Then again, I think it had more to do with the friend than the location. As one of my Sigma sisters pointed out to me last night, we grew up together in a way. We've been through things. She's picked me up from the ER and pried wine bottles from my hands on one memorable night. We have inside jokes that no one else will get, and I don't want them to get. That takes time, but I also realize is not dependent upon place.
We're scattering. One friend will move to Tennessee soon, another is getting engaged and will relocate to Seattle. People are moving on to grad school and not sure where they'll end up in this nomadic world of ours, where you go miles from home to find another home and then abandon that nest, too. Although I'll always have people to go back for, one day Atlanta will not be the hub of my friendships it is now. I'll be packing bags to jump around the country, and maybe organizing trips that five or six of us can go on every few years. Time will pass imperceptibly while we don't see each other.
But here's the thing: I'll always be willing to pack the bag. I'll return to Atlanta--the place I ran away from as fas as possible--I'll fly cross-country, pick up the phone, buy the plane ticket. Anything to go back to the stolen moments cruising down the highway to the next destination where smiling faces and inside jokes wait.
And that's what she said.