No, this isn’t a post about my astrological sign changing (I’m a scorpio no matter what anyone says).
I was at work on a Tuesday last month when I got a phone call from a girl I grew up with. I had run into her at church a few weeks earlier and we had chatted for a bit. They moved away from the Creek when I was about 13 (I think). Anyway, she was calling me because she had tickets to go see Rain (a Beatles tribute band on Broadway) and she was supposed to go with her brother who was in town but she wasn’t going to be able to make it, making me the only other person he knows in NYC besides his sister. And we’re the same age so we were inthe same peer group growing up. She asked me if I wanted to see it with him. Amazingly (this was pre my “no plans during the week” phase), I didn’t have plans and I thought it would be fun to hear the Beatles covered by a band who has been doing it for years, so I agreed to go.
I have to admit, I was a little nervous to see him. He was Beau. It had been at least 15 years since I’d last seen him. I got to the theater and waited outside in the freezing cold for him. His sister told me what he was wearing, but she didn’t have to. He seriously looked exactly the same, just older. We had a little bit of time before the show started, so we headed to Cosi for hot chocolate. It was seriously so weird to be standing in a Cosi in Times Square with Beau.
Here’s the thing. I knew Beau during the most painful of my adolescent years. Those horrible, awkward, tween years. The parental divorce years. Middle school, acne, braces, etc. That’s a big part of why I was nervous. It’s scary seeing someone who only remembers you from, what you consider, some of the worst years of your life. But seeing him, and talking to him, and dancing to the Beatles with him was so fun and oddly therapeutic. He told me about his crazy life (he’s basically homeless and spends his time between various countries–mainly South American ones–getting whatever kind of work he can get as needed). I told him about mine. Corporate job working for The Man, paying rent, brunching with my girlfriends. We are about as opposite as two people can get. And yet, there we were. Thrown together by some weird twist in the universe. Catching up. Laughing about our crazy childhood.
It was an oddly emotional experience; as in I had a lot of emotions. And a lot of thoughts. We’re so different, there’s no way you could even begin to compare our lives. And I think that was part of it. It was one of those moments when I felt so very content with all of my life choices. Not because they were better than his, but because they were mine. And because I am right where I have chosen to be. I’m not here by default. I saw what I wanted and I went after it…and I am continuing to do that every day. And he’s in the same exact spot. And as much as I don’t want his life, he doesn’t want mine. And yet, sharing an evening together was so great.
I doubt I will ever see Beau again in my life, but I will never forget him and the things I learned about myself spending those few hours with him. I think sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the comparisons to which similar lives lend themselves; “I wish I lived in that apartment, had that job, was dating that boy,” etc, etc, etc. But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that, while I have been dealt a certain set of cards, I am the one choosing how to play them…and I’m pretty happy with how the game is going so far.