Jan Stafford Kellis

Short Nights

The other night I met a couple high school classmates for a drink at the bar. We’ve been out of school for 22 years now and as I gazed around the table at my dear old friends’ faces I felt every one of those years. We’re all sporting fine lines around our eyes and maybe a few gray hairs; a couple of us have gained a few pounds. As a group, we still look good and our recent or upcoming 40th birthdays provided enough conversation fodder to see us through the evening. Our memories of grade school and high school featured vastly disparate recollections–after hearing a couple stories circa 1986 I wondered if we had in fact attended the same school. We agreed we all blocked out certain memories, sometimes to make room for new ones and sometimes to alleviate humiliation.

There was a time when we said we were going out for a beer, we meant ten or eleven beers. Now when we meet for a beer we each have three or four, then leave the bar early to prevent hangovers. What will happen in twenty more years? Will we sip our Milk of Magnesia together? Maybe we will race our walkers to the bathroom.