Shades of the Past

The news of my junior-high-turned-life-long-friend’s father’s death shocked me. It shook me for its suddeness and the blow it served to my friend, his brother, and mother. It also pulled me back into a fold I hadn’t been part of for quite some time.

This family gave me first, the friendship of its younger son, then older brother, deepened by the quasi-adopted status of daughter in a family of boys. Through a childhood bond of the older brother and the wheeling and dealing of the younger, it gave me my husband. When our band of merry men wasn’t tearing into the cul-de-sac in front of their house, we were storming their vacation cottage in the mountains. We ate, drank mai tais the old way, and managed to meet up around the country and world as life took us on its various roads.

But year spooled into year, and suddenly it had been over a decade since I’d visited their home. I didn’t think it would affect me until our car slid into line with the others at the curb, much like it did when we’d jockey for position years ago. Stepping over the threshold from the breezeway to the kitchen, a wave of emotion rolled over me. The same wallpaper, the same linoleum, the same smell. The books, the airshow posters, the tea bags and coffee press. The fresh air billowing in the bathroom window overlooking the backyard. The same futon where three of us had crammed to watch German subtitled movies for English class.

We gathered around the table on the patio and drank the sweet, slushy lemonade of our childhood with a splash of rum from Pappy’s reserve. I don’t think I’d realized how much a place can take on a life of its own. But really, what this place gave me is a better appreciation for the people and times that made it so special.

Andrew Apuya

Andrew Apuya


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