We took a road trip to Indy over the weekend. (Indy = Indianapolis, for those not in the know.) We've been meaning to go for a long while, but something kept getting in the way. So we were glad to finally make it.
We got in late Saturday afternoon, so I got to show Rob a little bit of downtown Indy. My hometown. We got to see the progress on the Colts' new stadium. Then we met up with friends for dinner -- my long-time email (but never before met in person!) friend Nadine and her husband Roger, and my long-time ACS buddy Liane and her fiance Michael. We had a delicious meal at R Bistro. And we had a great time! Dinner with friends is one of my absolute favorite activities and Saturday was no exception.
On Sunday we met my friend Dave, who drove up from Cincinatti, so that the three of us could have lunch with Mike and Mary. Mike and Mary are the parents of Zak, a friend of mine and Dave's from way back when we studied in France during the summer before our senior year of high school. We lost Zak a few days after we returned from our summer in France. Dave and I have stayed in touch with Zak's parents, who we love, ever since.
The five of us had a great time at lunch on Sunday at Patachou. It had been way, way too long between visits. (All the way back to Rob's and my wedding.) Afterwards, Dave, Mike, Rob and I caught the end of the IU-Ohio State game, which IU won! Dave, Rob and I hung out for a little while longer before we all hit the road to head back home.
So all in all, it was an excellent weekend. But I found myself getting emotional on the drive back to Chicago and throughout the day today as I thought about Zak. It is strange to think that I only knew him at the age of 17. Somehow in my memories, he always seems the same age as I am now. I think that must be because Zak was one of those timeless souls.
I trace a lot of things back to losing Zak. My fear of flying. My fear of heights. My fear of random accidents in general. And I stopped thinking that everything in life happens for a reason.
Still, thankfully, there's another side. Although Dave and I met Zak on the same trip, Dave and I did not hit it off right away. I thought he was ridiculously obnoxious. He probably thought the same of me. But when we lost Zak, Dave was the one person who understood, the one person who would always listen, the one person who shared my exact grief.
Ever since, despite all our crazy bickering, Dave and I have been the closest of friends. Opposite in every way, but the closest of friends. And somehow, I think Zak gave us each other to make sure we were okay. For the long haul.
So today I've been pondering friendship old and new. Remembering little moments with Zak. Thinking about the plans we'd made. And newly reminded to appreciate the time I have with people I love, whether long or short.