As I walked down Club Street with friends on a Saturday night, noise and bedlam was pouring out of the restaurants and bars. We were on the way to a favorite haunt to listen to live jazz starting later in the evening.
As we weaved through the individuals and groups walking in all directions along with the natural roadblocks formed by others catching up in near perfect places to block all movement, I hear my name. Initially I assumed that it was another “Bill”. When the “Bill” turned to “Ashlock” I started to pay attention.
The moment that followed was awkward at best. While the face was vaguely familiar, I had no idea who I was talking to! On the other hand, as we began to talk he reminded me of the last time we had met. It was years earlier and in another city. His memory of that moment and others when we worked together were very different from the vague threads in my mind. His stories of the two of us were vivid, detailed, and funny. As the group of friends I was with enjoyed the story I searched my mind, trying to remember my version of our relationship.
I wish I could say that everything came back quickly, that I remembered the details and nuances of what had happened and how we drifted about. As the stories went on, the memories began to come back. After the third or fourth one, I even had a story of my own to add to the mix. What never came back that evening was a sense of why we had stopped talking. I still wonder.
I have a friend who is going to stop talking to several in his life who are important. I hope my Club Street experience isn’t his when he meets them in the future. David reminds me that Divinity “know[s] every mountain bird by name; the scampering field mice are my friends.” (Psalm 50.11) Good friends are hard to find, easy to lose. I do not want to lose this friendship again.