In elementary school–more so junior high (even though our elementary school went from grades 1 – 8), I had two really good friends. I’ll call them Cain and Abel since together the three of us went to St. Joseph’s Catholic school. A biblical reference for the Catholic crew. We went to school in Alameda. We lived in Alameda–all within biking distance of each other. I don’t know how we grouped together. I’d been friends with Cain since the 2nd grade. Somehow he befriended Abel who was a late comer to our school. Then we were hanging out after school, walking home together, eating ice-cream, listening to Depeche Mode.
That all changed in high school when you’re feeling your way around various social cliques. Those close relationships you had with your friends from elementary school dissolve. The pretty, popular girls who used to be your friends start hanging out with the sophomores. I was stereotyped a nerd. Abel got kicked out for being in a fight. Even though Abel and I both went to the same college, it’s hard to befriend someone in a school of 30,000 students. With one exception (we randomly bumped into each other), I never saw Abel after he left St. Joseph Notre Dame high school.
Cain and I remained close friends. Of my wedding party, he is the one I’ve known the longest. 27 years of friendship. From elementary school to high school to the University of California system to Spain and Italy to San Francisco, that is true loyalty.
Then Facebook resumed the connection.
I live in San Francisco. I’m engaged.
Cain is in Seattle. He’s newly single.
Abel is in NYC. He’s committed.
We all grew up in Alameda. We’re all Asian, born in 1975.
Abel was visiting the Bay Area with his partner. I made him promise to let me know when he had some free time to meetup. Cain, serendipitously, was with me when Abel texted to say he was free. Hooray. Cain and I set off from San Francisco for our hometown Alameda. We met up with Abel and his partner. Very odd for a bunch of city dwellers, we walked (gasp!) to a nearby park, sat down, and gabbed easily for an hour, catching up on our lives. Abel is the most settled in life. He has a perfect-match partner. They own a place in NYC. Despite their insistence that they lead very boring lives as homebodies, they’re planning for a child. I’m in transition with a fiance, birthing my wedding. Cain is on a new career and relationship path.
It’s funny how you grow up together and lead quite similar lives, then end up in coastal cities across the U.S., work your way through the stages of life (education, career, relationships), but always make your way back home. I love the path I’ve taken to get exactly here: at a picnic table in Franklin Park in my hometown with my close friends from two decades ago.