He calls every now and then just to say "what's up?" It's the typical call you would expect from a close friend who moved away. For the first couple months we would talk roughly once a week, lengthy conversations that were ended long before they were truly finished. As time moved on the chats got shorter while the dead space in between our words grew longer.
It isn't something that really bothers me on a nightly basis, just every once in a while. I can't really place the blame on him, just as he cannot on me, it's just a result of the differing paths we took after leaving college in 2007. I stayed here, stagnant essentially, while he moved to Texas and jammed his foot down on the gas pedal.
So here I am, two and a half years out of school with a mediocre job, a steady girlfriend and basically all the freedom to do what I want when I want. I might have battles with my demons but all in all things aren't all that bad. For the first time in a while I feel like I'm playing my hand the way that I want to play it, not the way everyone else is telling me too. So like I said, here I am.
But then, on the other end of the spectrum, there he is.
I don't even think he has turned twenty-five yet but already he's just .5 kids short of the American Dream (if that's how you want to define it, that is). Two kids under five, a wife, two dogs, a mortgage, car payments and all the responsibility that goes along with it. I think all he's missing is the white picket fence. If you were to look back at how similar we were back in school, you would have never seen this coming. I know I sure didn't.
Originally I thought the increasingly awkward telephone silences and the dwindling number of phone calls was on account of the stress and time constraints of going zero to sixty from single stoner to married family man. Now that I put a little more thought into it, it isn't an entirely unreasonable excuse, I have no idea what it is like so I obviously can't be upset. It is what it is.
But that gets me thinking, back in the day we were inseparable. We made money, got drunk, started fights and just generally caused trouble. "Fish and Cheese," they would call us, it was never one without the other. Nowadays we couldn't be more different and it's strange to think how quickly his life changed and just how much of a rift has opened between us.
It has me contemplating my own future, where am I going and where will I end up? What will I be like? How hard will it be for my friends to relate to me? Will they even know what to say to me anymore? Will they recognize a settled down version of Cheese? Will they even be able to call me that anymore?
Speculation will get me nowhere but it's something I have never been able to keep out of my head. It's a constant nusiance, gaining speed and volume each time the calender moves forward. I see my youth fading, the jeans and T-shirt soon to be replaced by a suit and tie. The bowls and beers will give way to baby bottles and bank statements. Recklessness will fade away into responsibility. I wonder if I'll even recognize myself.
Everyone knows you can't stem the tide.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't terrify me as I watch it come in.