Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Friends



I met Nicole Pevzner in 1995, platonically moved in with her in 1996 and for the next 6 years we were (for the most part) inseparable.
Through Nicole I met Scott, through whom I met Donna, Danielle and Sean.
Scott used to host New Hampshire weekends with this group of friends. This involved a really cool cabin, an indoor pool and really good food. Oh, it also involved alcohol and board games. I attended three or four of these get-togethers and I ALWAYS had a great time.
While Nicole and I lived together I saw her get married, and get divorced. We lived through the passing of her Mom, the dissolution of a relationship or two of my own and generally, we were always there for each other.
Nicole and I spent Thursday evenings together. This was known as "Roommate Bonding Night" and usually involved me cooking dinner for us and then watching "Friends", "Seinfeld" and "ER". In between we got the trash ready for Friday pick-up and discussed life, the universe and everything. Also we generally laughed our asses off together.
One night, we were sitting through commercials on ABC when a contest to win the Batmobile was announced on "The Drew Carey Show" through Papa Gino's. After the commercial ended, Nicole looked over at me and said, "That's so stupid. What would you do if you won the Batmobile?"
I looked her square in the eye and replied, "I'd fight crime".
Well...we thought it was funny.
We were "Non-sexual life partners" and I loved every minute of our time together. Then a funny thing happened to Nicole and I in our cozy little home.
Life happened.
Nicole met Dennis at Interlynx, where I also worked as a contractor in the QA Department. After a weekend in Vermont Dennis and Nicole were now a couple, which put demands on Nicole's time. After working at Gateway and then joining Verizon I met Katie, which put more demands on my social time, too. Later on Dennis and Nicole purchased my friend Greg's house and they moved in together. I spent the last year in Weymouth alone, as they set up house together. Between Verizon, Jenna and my time with Katie I saw less and less of Nicole. Once Dennis and Nicole were married (yay!) and Katie and I were married (yay! redux) we slowly but surely drifted apart.
Not by choice, more by circumstance.
We saw each other a few times after we were married but it got tough. I was unable to go the the last few NH weekends togather so I slowly but surely lost track of Scott, Danielle, Donna and Sean. We saw each other for dinner not long after Katie and I were married but soon not seeing them became the norm and I accepted that fact.
After learning via a group e-mail that Nicole and Dennis had a baby girl in December I knew that I had let Nicole slip too far away from me. I never even knew she was pregnant.
I felt awful. We talked then and promised that we would get together soon.
In January Donna sent out an invitation to dinner at her house in Scituate. All of the old gang was on this e-mail, which began with "OK it really has been a while for a get together. We keep talking about it - lets make it happen!" and ended with "It has been tooo long - I am looking forward to catching up with everyone!" I agreed with her.
Through the e-mail planning I learned that Donna was married to Pat and had a young son named Quinlan. Danielle and Paul were expecting a baby in July, Scott had met and married Barry since I last saw him and Sean was still working as hard as ever at his job and working to get his degree. We settled on a date, agreed on who was bringing what and on Saturday, February 17th we gathered on Pat and Donna's for dinner.
I won't bore everyone with the details, but after being together for half an hour it felt like I had been with all of them just last week. We fell into the same patterns of overlapping conversations, sarcastic retorts and laughter. Much, much laughter. Donna's home was warm and inviting and the food was simply fantastic. I met Pat (Donna's husband) and their young son Quinlan. We also met Scott's partner Barry, a great guy who I think is just quirky enough for Scott. Katie was welcomed by all (again) and she quickly warmed to everyone present. I think the fact that Donna had a (rescued) black lab and one young offspring helped things along. :-)
As we had coffee with dessert it was mentioned that we should do this again. After a brief nod from Katie I offered that we would host the next dinner at our house and within the next month or so. Donna told me that she was going to e-mail me weekly until I set up this date.
She won't have to, because I can't wait to see everyone again.
I am angry with myself that I let so much time pass between visits, but grateful at having a chance to set things right. The mid to late nineties were all about this group of friends and I am glad to still be a part of the circle.
Nicole and I used to love watching "Friends", in part because neurotic Monica mirrored Nicole while sarcastic Chandler seemed to mirror my personality. Mostly, however, it was because, no matter what, your friends are there for you. Until last Saturday I hadn't seen Nicole in years, and when we saw each other we just stood quietly and hugged each other. That hug was so "Us". It was a homecoming of sorts. I knew then that I would never let Nicole drift away again.
After many years apart, I discovered that my friends were still there for me, just as I will always be there for them, too. Sometimes there is truth in song lyrics:
But I'll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour)
I'll be there for you (like I've been there before)
I'll be there for you (Cause you're there for me too)
I can't wait for our next dinner date and I am thankful for second chances.

8 Comments:

Blogger FoxInDetox said...

I am so happy that you have a group of friends like that Andy. I think if I did way back when, I probably wouldn't have made so many bad choices in my life.

Good for you (all) for making the effort to keep together. Not many people do once "life" happens.

2:46 PM, February 21, 2007  
Blogger Andy said...

The amazing thing is that I actually have three distinct yet awesome groups of friends. The first are all the guys I knew in High School that I still hang out with. They are family to me.

Next is the group in this blog.

Third are the friends that I have met throught Katie. John (& Kristin), Dave, Janet, Lisa, Steve, John A, etc. have become my extended family and I am grateful for them.

Finally there is a fourth set of friends. The friends that don't fit into any of the above categories yet I am so very pleased that they have wandered into my life and have decided to stick around. You, Kathy, fall in this group.

3:54 PM, February 21, 2007  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I am envious...all of the friends that I am close to live far away, far enough that I can't invite them to my house.

People here are too busy with work and their own families. At first I thought it was great that most of my friends are at my church but I only see them at church or church activities...or the grocery store. God, that sounds pathetic!

I'm glad we're still friends, buckaroo, even if it is long distance.

10:30 AM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger Andy said...

If it sounds pathetic... :-)

I'm very glad that we're still friends,too Kemosabe.

2:06 PM, February 22, 2007  
Blogger Summer Ryan Doyle said...

Reconnecting with friends is such a wonderful feeling--especially when it's seamless like you described. That's great, Andy.

5:35 AM, February 23, 2007  
Blogger Lara said...

And I'd give anything for a couple of nights in the area to catch up in person, too. I do have a week-long United Church of Christ shindig in Hartford the 22nd - 26th of June - can we "calendar something in" before, during or after and just be sure we pull it off? I'd love to catch up with you and Katie - and since we have so little to complain about, do some mutual bragging on our "twin" daughters? Pretty please?

3:32 PM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Yeah, Andy, I also have the same "shindig" in Hartford. Couldn't we also get you and Katie down to CT, the state you just fly over?

10:30 AM, February 27, 2007  
Blogger Andy said...

Cindy, meet Lara. Lara, meet Cindy. :-)

Actually, I think that you've met each other before, at Chevy's in Quincy.

A visit to CT would be very nice, indeed.

1:52 PM, February 27, 2007  

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