I went to a barbeque this evening; there haven't really been enough of those, this summer, with the warm sunny days only really arriving in late June. It was a birthday dinner, actually, thrown by DerDer for her brother; we sat in the backyard under the grape arbor and had planked salmon and crab cakes and a shrimp boil and really cheap beer. Chocolate mousse cake for dessert.
And it was a pleasure, to sit around the table with people I've known since I was four years old, and people I've known since high school. We are scattered through each other's childhood photos, birthday parties and trips to camp...and then I periodically bump into DerDer's husband in the cafeteria at work. We sat around the table peeling shrimp, accidentally knocking over each other's beer bottles when the table wobbled in the grass, passing the baby around. DerDer has two boys, now, and after the meal we retreated to the basement playroom and shared a massive flashback over the treasure trove of classic Fisher Price toys she's been picking up at yard sales and on eBay. The parking garage! The houseboat! The airport! The little blue house with its working doorbell! It is possible that we were more invested in arranging the wee plastic cars and chairs and round-headed peg people than were her little boys, perhaps.
It was fun. I laughed a lot and got slightly buzzed on Pabst Blue Ribbon, and snorfled kisses into the baby's neck before I left. And then, strangely, I felt, I feel...bereft. I have had this experience a lot this summer, where I am surrounded by old friends and their kids, now, watching the next generation tumble around on the lawn, and it is wonderful and then I get in my quiet, solitary car and the silence is worse than deafening. I sing with the radio, I always have...but lately it is not enough to drown out that quiet. I am used to being alone, but I am feeling it differently now.
I don't know. I've started this fourth paragraph three different times already, trying out different thoughts and summary statements. But maybe, for this, there isn't one. Not tonight, I guess.