Earlier this morning I emailed an old friend, Mark. We have been out of touch for 12 years, but the internet is a strange and wonderful thing so finding his email address took less than a minute. He is working on his doctoral dissertation out west.
Mark and I met at a camp we both attended during our formative years. I went every year from the time I was 8 or 9 until I was 15. I don't remember exactly, but I think Mark was there most of the years that I was.
We lived close to each other and occasionally saw each other outside of camp, but not often. Mostly we saw each other for a week or two in the summer and wrote letters back and forth during the year. Mark's letters always came on pale blue writing paper with matching envelopes and were written in a tiny and very precise script. I still have all of his letters in a box somewhere. I come across them occasionally and intend to sit down and read through them, but I never have. He was a dear and cherished friend to me, and I am deeply sorry that we have drifted so far apart.
Mark was a very kind, incredibly bright and wickedly funny teenager. He loved Monty Python - I mean he was a fanatic, could recite entire movies from memory. He was one of those kids who have such a unique and powerful mind that they never quite fit into the mainstream of life but Mark, who I believe realized that, never seemed to care. When I saw that Mark was working on his dissertation (on a highly intellectual and fairly arcane topic) I thought "well yes, of course." He is just where I would expect him to be.
I wonder if he will write me back. I wonder if he will be surprised by where I am. I wonder whether he and I can be friends again, or whether the intervening years will have left us with nothing in common. I wonder whether he can ever be a man I know, or only always the boy I knew.