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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

As I Walked Out One Evening

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Dusk was really lovely tonight; the sky took on a sort of yellow glow, the kind that follows really threatening thunderclouds that don't fully materialize. So Meredith and I took a walk around the neighborhood.

I have an old friend and mentor who I know lives in our neighborhood. I'm not sure where, but when I lived here some years ago I visited his house once or twice. Since moving back I've not seen him, and that fact has caused me some guilt. We tried to get together over lunch back in February, but we both ended up being sick, and it never got back on either of our calendars. Every time I venture out around my neighborhood I know there is the outside chance that I might inadvertently walk past his house or pass him jogging with his dog; and it will be that encounter that I've been hoping for and dreading all at once.

Well, walking back up Cherry Street toward 61st, we saw a crew of people loading up a moving van in front of a house, and as we got closer to walk past them . . . well, there's no need pretending that there's some suspense here. There my old friend and mentor was, loading up his house on a warm spring evening with a bunch of friends, his kids, and his wife. They're moving to a new house several blocks away. But there it was. There they were.

We talked for a few minutes in the street, and we parted with hearty handshakes and assurances that we'll get together in a couple of weeks. But I feel guilty. I felt guilty walking away, and I'll surely feel guilty until we actually have a chance to sit down and talk, to figure out what our acquaintence means now after some years and some significantly changed circumstances.

Addendum: Adding to the awkwardness of the encounter was the fact that one of the guys helping to load up the truck was the lead singer for a band that some friends of mine in college used to idolize. They used to drive from Sterling to Kansas City to see them play at this church basement coffeehouse. Later, the band actually played at our college twice in one year, and I served as the promoter and organizer of the concert. I liked the band a lot then too, but the sound of this guy's voice had long since been shelved in my mind with memories of college. It was weird to hear it out on the block.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 8:33 PM


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