Until Wednesday night, I hadn't seen John since 1997. It was the day we graduated high school, and we were talking after the service, bullshitting the time away as we always did.
We never talked about anything, not really. Rather, we always talked about things that didn't matter and never would.
Imagine my surprise when I opened my front door at midnight on Wednesday night (or, more properly, Thursday morning) to see John standing on the other side, his stupid grin spanning his freckled face from ear to ear, a crumpled napkin in one hand and a bottle of rum in the other.
"Heard you were into this now," he said, shoving the rum into my hands. John always had an uncanny way of finding things out that I never quite grasped, but I imagine that he makes it his business still to know everything that goes on with his old high school friends.
"Instead of running into the chum with a bottle of rum, the old chum finds me, huh?" I asked, waving him in. "Even brought the damn rum himself."
"Yup. Was passing through and figured I'd drop by. Make up about seven years of lost time, if you aren't too tired," he said, dropping into a chair.
"Not at all. Let me get some glasses."
His grin got wider. "Why? We have the bottle," he said. I'd have sworn that grin was taxadermic if it didn't keep getting bigger.
I smiled back. "Point taken. You haven't changed a bit."
"Neither have you," he stated.
For the next four hours, John and I caught up. Apparently, he's been married twice and divorced twice in the past seven years. He found my address through some crazy internet sleuthing and figured he'd take a chance on me being home. He was headed east to Virginia, where he'd just bought a plot of pristine land to set up on, looking to escape his crazy past. He called it "hitting the reset button." It sure sounded like he had figured it out.
I passed out around 4 AM. I don't know if he fell asleep, too, but when I woke up to my alarm going off in the other room, he was already gone.
I stumbled into my room and smacked the alarm into submission. I grabbed my stuff and headed for the door to get to work. Taped to the door was a note. It read:
Mike:I'm looking into the scheduling, and I think I have a time picked out. We'll see.
Wonderful to see you again. Had to be in R.V.A. by noon, though, so headed out early. Didn't want to wake you.
Anyway, when you get your sorry ass up, go into your office and schedule a two week vacation. One where you aren't dancing with those hippy pagan people. One just for you, one that takes you somewhere else. You need it.
God bless you, John. Wherever you are right now.
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