I met this dude in 1996, the year I rolled into Austin. We worked together at Trudy’s. We also became best friends over a bottle of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey while discussing how we’d ended up in Austin.
The short story: the women we’d been with decided to not be with us. Good enough: we bonded as men.
Much has happened since then, but one of the constants in my life has been our friendship.
We lived together for two years then, when I moved away in 1998 to go to graduate school I’d stay with him when I’d return for SXSW Interactive, and when I moved back to Austin in 2002 I bought a house where he’s lived since. (I lived here for two years until the job pulled me away.)
They are different journeys than I thought we’d have I pulled out of Austin with my then-girlfriend for Berkeley. Everything was in front of us then. The world awaiting us.
Today, we are a bit more battle-hardened, tossed about by the tides of life. Yet we are still here through all of the changes, the hard times, and the passage of time. So much has come and gone, but we’ve stayed friends.
Many of us from those days have stayed friends although we don’t see each other as much as we used to. Life has a funny way of doing that as well. You settle into your patterns and your habits. You mean to change them, but those patterns have locked in for a reason.
No matter. Friendship is time travel, built around the memories of what was and the events that transpired. Those never change even as we do.
Now it’s time for the relentless stream of life to pull my friend and I in different directions again just as it did in 1998.
It’s a bit odd for me to imagine us not having the shared space with him after all these years, whether is be the four years when we lived under the same roof or the 11 years we’ve shared for extended periods as I’ve worked in other cities and then traveled here during summers and winters.
There will still be visits, obviously. You don’t lose 15 years of friendship because you change residence. Still, as I sit here in the empty house, it does feel a bit like the last melancholy episode of a sitcom where the main characters all go their separate ways.
The world, as it does, is changing. Inexoriably.
Very soon, there will be new adventures to be had, and new experiences to found. We will set about life. I will go with a twinge of sadness in my heart but secure in this: Every ending comes with its own new beginning.