Elevators have taken on a whole new meaning for me lately.

Lots of people insist that there’s a pattern to life, that, over time, you can see how events that seemed final and long ago can take on new meaning, or even recur, just twisted a bit. Or people that you only associated with a time that has passed will show up again, in almost exactly the same way that the ocean tosses up an old shipwreck. And, yes, that metaphor is perfect… trust me.

Damn, a while ago I made a brief post about having arguments in my head with people long gone. And then, this week, someone shows up, a person who defines the phrase “person long gone” in a very personal way. A face and a voice that I haven’t seen in a span recorded in decades, traveling in a body that does not show much wear and tear for all the miles between then and now.

And what’s more important, she remembers all the same stories I do. And in her laugh I see that she remembers them fondly. It’s almost too much to ask for.

But all the best stories share a setting: lounging in a darkened bar, after hours, with all the other customers sent home, while the barmistress counted out the till and the rest of us drank the boss’s beer for free (at least until the boss called to say he was coming in).

I spent money like water. I spent money that wasn’t mine, actually. I broke some hearts but mostly ended up mending mine. I made friends, and lost them.

Or so I thought. Apparently friends don’t just vanish in the night. They show up when least expected.

I’m not sure if that’s good…

I’m the wrong person to judge if I’m different now. I can string a story from that point to this point, and it all seems to make sense, each event leading into the next one into the next one all the way to where I type this out. I know, however, that I have learned a lot, and lived a bit, just a bit, since then, and my reactions now to those events would be different. Far different, I hope. But it doesn’t make a lot of difference, now, does it? I chose poorly then. I choose poorly now, too, it’s just that it’s a different kind of poorly.

To be sure, I choose wisely now a little bit more than I did back then. But, being human, I think I dwell more on the poor choices than the wise ones. You gain something with a poor choice. But what you gain from the poor choices makes the good choices possible.

All I’m saying is that it’ll be interesting to see how time has changed an old friend. It’ll be difficult, though, for me to see her as she is now. That’s the challenge; the person I remember is somewhat stuck in my mind in a specific context. I’ll need to be alert to seeing the woman she is now.

Is the pattern there? Is there some other consciousness (I mean, other than mine and hers) layering the pattern on top of the events in my life? I’m inclined to disbelieve that. More likely my own brain, struggling to make sense of random events, is the one supplying the pattern.

Even so, it makes for interesting stories.