“There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said — no.
But somehow we missed it.”
That quote, or one very much like it, was tacked above my desk in the apartment where I lived during my senior year at the University.
I wrote it down on one of my study cards because of Carol’s brother Dave.
He fell asleep at the wheel.
Dave was just a year ahead of us in school, and we had been at a party together the week before.
The enormity of the fragility of life, at an age when we were supposed to be immortal, shook me, and put me into an early depression at a time when I was meant to be living high.
This quote returns to me now, 30 years later, when I visit another college friend. After another accident.
I sit off to the side in the crowded sanctuary with her profile in view. Her hair, once tight and curly, dark as night, is now silver like the moon, straight and streaming.
My mind flashes back on other times together long ago. On silent walks across the campus in the snow. On late nights that forced us out into the hallway outside our dorm rooms to whisper about life and love and what to do about both. A train across Europe. A ferry boat. The streets of London.
While her teenage children grieve the loss of their father, I think back to when she and I belonged to ourselves.
If we knew then what lie ahead, could we have taken another step forward?
We would have said — no.
And yet, if we could go back, knowing what we know now, I wonder if we’d change a thing.