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A Little Harmless Gossip

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I bumped into an old friend the other day on the El, a friend I haven't seen in a few years. He's one of those friends that appeared out of nowhere after college, after the dust settled from the four years of unfettered freedom and everyone re-descended back to their home towns. Now that we were seated on the train next to each other, he had nowhere else to go -- how lucky/unfortunate for him.

We didn't really know each other well in high school and we went to different colleges. We connected at the intersection of the post-grad merger of our respective friend groups. But, so often as friendships go, people grow apart and move on to new and different things. He's married now.

Anyway, after all this time, here's the first question he asks: "Have you met your beshert yet?"

What a question! I smile from ear to ear as I fall back into the rhythm of a silly conversation with someone whose humor I'm relatively familiar with. We talk about dating sites and then he asks about any gossip I might have.

To this I respond with a resounding, emphatic "no." Then I spoke the following words, which took me aback somewhat: "We're grown up. Of course I don't have any gossip."

A beat. I fawn over this moment of wondrous adulthood, then I swiftly end it when I bring up that an ex-boyfriend (a mutual friend) is dating a new girl, and I hope it works out for them, I really do.

Well, I tried. A noble effort, right? Everyone's a little bit yenta, whether we'd like to believe it or not.

I flutter back to his mention of a "beshert." The word brings to mind the very reason I'd bumped into him. I stayed late after work to run errands for a friend. She's getting married this weekend. She met her beshert long ago, in the usual way (a sorority/fraternity exchange). Very recently, she converted to Judaism in anticipation of this event, a decision she arrived at carefully and introspectively. Watching her discover this new-to-her religion phase is, honestly and truly, a very cool thing. It's hard to settle on one adjective that encompasses it. From my outside perspective, I find it so incredibly brave. It's such a personal decision; only she can truly know the magnitude of what it means and feels to her each and every day. One thing I'm certain of? I'm so excited to see her man stomp on the glass and make everything official.

As I bound off the train, a warm and fuzzy nostalgia wraps around me, bundling me up on the walk home. I won't see my long-lost friend for another few months to be sure, maybe at another wedding or perhaps on another El ride. But our little encounter made me think: everything old can be new again.  

Things fly by in an instant. We get new jobs, we embark on new relationships, we immerse ourselves in new activities. But the recent past lives and breathes in a way to remind us, if anything, you're never too old for a little harmless gossip, or to remember what it was like just graduating college, waiting impatiently for what the world will have in store.

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