Sunday, September 5, 2010

CAN THIS FRIENDSHIP BE REVIVED?

I think there's a line in "About Last Night" when Jim Belushi tells Rob Lowe or Elizabeth Perkins tells Demi Moore that you're allowed to go gaga over a new flame for three weeks. Then the friends have every right to reel you back in. (Side note: It's a decent movie, based on a screenplay by David Mamet. But then I'm a sucker for Sheena Easton songs so DVD renters be warned.)


Trouble is three weeks can become three months, then three years, then seven. I swore I wouldn't be one of those people, but I didn't relate to my ex's friends and he didn't relate to mine. And neither set of friends related to or endorsed the fact we'd left the single life. I'd suggest brunch, they'd suggest bars. I'd plan a dinner party; they'd want to go to the Sunday night drag show. The friendships faded. After my breakup and my move to the boonies, the friendships flat-out died.

In most cases, I realize there is no point in exhuming the dearly departed. However, there are a few that I would like to think can be miraculously revived. Last night, I went for coffee with Danny, someone whom I've run into a few times over the years but haven't seen regularly for more than a decade. We met at Delany's on Denman, our usual haunt—at least "usual" back in 1999 when Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera released debut albums, when a child actor was telling Bruce Willis he saw dead people and when we were saying what should have been our final goodbyes to "Melrose Place".

I used to take the seabus over to Danny's place in North Van every Monday night to catch Doug Savant and Marcia Cross as "the gay one with no storyline" and "the wacko doctor" on Melrose Mondays. (Who knew they'd go on to be "the husband with no storyline" and "the wacko housewife" on "Desperate Housewives!) Danny was the ultimate extrovert, the host who would stop at nothing to make sure everyone was wholly entertained, even if that meant taking out his "tickle trunk" and donning a drag getup to perform the most polished "adlibbed" numbers choreographed to ABBA (years before the band's resurgence on Broadway and in the movies).

Beneath Danny's boisterous personality, I knew there was a reflective, generous soul. As we reunited over coffee, that's the part that shone through. The Frida/Agnetha doppelganger was now exiled to a remote Swedish island. "I'm a homebody," he said. "I am perfectly content being alone. I'll go for a beer or a coffee, but then I'm happy to head back to my quiet apartment."

I wasn't the only friend from ancient times who'd abandoned Danny. He was no longer in touch with any of the gang. When he gave up being the entertainer, everyone moved on.

I felt the guilt and the regret. I'd let a relationship get in the way. (Would I even be having coffee again with Danny if the relationship still existed?) Yet as we talked, all was forgiven. We laughed as we always had and he continued with the more serious conversations that we'd had when it was just the two of us meeting for coffee, when I used to probe persistently so Danny couldn't deflect and try to put the conversational focus on me. Yes, I always knew there was more to Danny than others cared to see.

The get together was indeed pleasant. Still, I am aware that Danny has new friends, new routines. Do I fit in? I'm not sure. Can the friendship be as strong as it was? I doubt it. But I still care. He's one of the truly good people I've met. If they can attempt to revive Melrose, maybe there's a chance to renew my friendship with Danny. And maybe the second coming will be more notable than that of the TV show.


1 comment:

Rick Modien said...

You ask the question, "Can this friendship be revived?" You bet it can. Will it be the same as it was before? Probably not. People change. Circumstances in their lives change.
But that's not to say the friendship can't be special in its own way now. Who knows, it might even be better today in some respects than it was yesterday. You're both older and wiser in the ways of life.
Perhaps you need to ask why you want it to be the same. The past is the past. Are you the same as you were ten years ago? I doubt it. Don't hold on to the past. No harm exploring what something from the past can be today. You might be surprised.
(Just in case you were looking for my advice.)