I have no idea why P. came to mind tonight.
We haven't spoken directly in well over a year, the circles of our lives once again drifting away from each other's rotation -- he has moved out of local calling range and did so without me knowing. I got a voicemail on my cell phone last fall with an update of his life and I didn't return the call, but have kept the message all this time, renewing the save-time every 21 days as the message comes up "marked for deletion." I listen to it begin and don't want to lose it, so I push 9 and hear, "This message will be saved for 21 days" in that electronic voice.
When our friendship began, we were part of the same Small Town where we went to high school. Through college and then grad school we kept in spotty contact -- and then we were living in the same Big City, which was surprising (OK, shocking)as most people from Small Town don't leave that area, let alone the state.
Still calling him a friend when we haven't spoken in so long feels a little weird. Yet I can't imagine calling him anything else. Our lives have taken us in such different directions. We have made decisions that have at best irritated and in reality angered the other. We have spent hours that would add up to weeks, maybe months, talking on the phone in our relationship. We frustrate each other and we skip the quotidian, building on years and years of deep conversation.
There is a level of comfort that comes from the idea of this kind of relationship and perhaps tonight, in my exhaustion, I am clinging to the simplistic remembrance of it.