Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The West End is a burger and beer-soaked bar in my neighborhood. It is one of the few establishments that has lasted since my own college days until now. The drinking age was 18 when I went to college, so my friends and I spent a lot of time in this bar, not necessarily drinking but pitching kernels of popcorn into the bell-shaped sconces, at the time the usual sport. I was sometimes lonely at that age, my poor heart insufficiently protected, yet I often feel nostalgic for that time, and just the teeniest bit envious of my children, who are in the thick of it now, those lit-up days when—if you're lucky, and I was—your bills are mostly paid by someone else, and all you really have to do is feed requisite knowledge to your brain and choose from a raft of activities to involve yourself in, all within the context of a four-year sleepover with people who may one day be your life's most faithful friends. The twist? We never understand quite how remarkable are the days we're living at the time we're living them. The same holds true even now, because when I am tempted to think of the rapture and misery of those nakedly felt years as the best of times, I remember that I didn't yet know the man I would love, and I hadn't yet met our children, and I know that indeed, life held even greater riches in store.