I am visiting Chicago for a few days, my hometown, and last night I had the great pleasure of reconnecting with a few friends who were, during an earlier period of my life, a part of my daily existence. To see the faces of these friends, to embrace them, made my heart leap; I was joyful. Like a grandmother at a graduation I held their familiar/unfamiliar faces in my hands and I looked deeply at the adults that they have become. The women have grown beautiful and grounded. More secure. Stronger. I see them older in a way that is probably not much different from the way they see me. We know who we are, we women in our thirties. It is a gratifying thing to be an observer and participant in that process.
But what struck me last night was not the changes in the women, but the changes in the men. Because they are men now, and I found myself saying that so often last night. "You seem like a nice man," I said to my friend's boyfriend. "You've turned into a man!" I said to another friend's brother. Is it their seriousness? Their respect? The way they can be counted on? The way they say what they mean? One man, my old friend, who was so young once, emotional and naive and unsure of his footing, his manhood should not surprise me, but it does, nevertheless.
Soon we will be old. Soon I will look back on this time as my laughable youth.