Sally and I went to high school together. She was a year ahead of me. She also had a sister who was a year behind me and a brother [in my brother's class] two years behind me.
WARNING: You are going to need Post It notes to keep everyone straight in this entry.
Sally's younger sister married a guy named Dennis, shortly before I started dated Dennis' younger brother, Brian. Does it matter that Brian was in my younger brother's class. No.
Years before, in college, Brian had had a thing for a former high school friend of mine when we were all working together in summerstock as "apprentices." Her name was Gretchen. He would drive me home from work at night then meet up with Gretchen for some serious noogie. I didn't know this until years later.
Meanwhile, Dennis [Brian's brother] and Sally's sister separated. While they were split up Brian moved into their apartment and starting dating me more seriously. One morning after I stayed over, I found a book Dennis and his wife [Sally's sis if you're writing this down] had left in the bedside table, when they moved.
It was written by Sally's mother. Every page was full of motherly knowledge and sayings, most of which I thought were clever and interesting. But Brian wouldn't let me keep the abandoned words of wisdom because Dennis or his wife [Sally's sister, remember?] might want it back, some day. Like that was going to happen, given their history with mind altering chemicals. But I wasn't going to steal it without permission.
Unfortunately, Brian and I broke up. My bad. I married my future ex a few minutes later. After a year, I found myself thinking about Brian in the form of hallucinatory dreams the day after my first child was born. This was not because of the anesthesia -- I'd had none -- and certainly not because I hated being married or anything. And definitely not because I thought I'd made a mistake by marrying the wrong guy and wished I could have a do-over. Nope not anything like that.
After having a second child, Brian's path and mine crossed again. His mother moved into a house around the corner from my family. Our backyards were visible to one another. But I didn't know his mom had moved there until one day when I was out back and Brian called to me over the fence. He was holding a toddler in his arms, getting ready for a family dinner. After thinking about him for four years, there he was. Be careful what you wish for.
Oh, be still my beating heart. We chatted for a bit, trying to seem nonchalant -- at least I was trying. Then I invited Brian over after dinner and we did the meet the wife/husband thing. His wife was very nice, a friend of Gretchen's and her sister it turns out. I can't tell you what my husband did when he met Brian because one of my daughters has asked me not to talk about my former in my journal. So I can't. But boy do I want to. Haaaaaaaaaaa.
One circle closed, slammed shut, actually -- the old boyfriend meets the husband circle.
Brian went on to become a PBS documentary filmmaker. After my divorce I was shooting a commercial in LA and I literally ran into Gretchen [now a soap actress] at a production house. She and I had one of those heart to hearts and she told me that she and Brian were still hooking up after all these years, usually when she went out east to visit his wife. I wonder how that worked.
I asked her if he was any better in bed, since that was the reason I broke up with him, and she just laughed and said he was still terrible. No you can't have the details. Let's just say that guys [like women] can go long and far on their looks alone, especially if they were talented athletically as well as on the stage in high school, a combination not often seen in nature.
Another circle closed -- the what-you-didn't-know-was-going-on-because-you-were-so-totally-naive circle.
At my last high school reunion, Gretchen and I met again for the final time. She came back for some laughs and to say good bye, because she was dying of brain cancer. Despite having no hair and needing a wheelchair to get around, we actually had a lot of fun in a black comedy kind of way. Somebody got up to make an announcement about something scheduled in three months. I asked if they could do it sooner, since Gretchen didn't have a whole lot of time. She was laughing pretty hard. Everybody else thought I was a jerk.
In another cosmic moment it turned out Gretchen had left LA and was now living in the same tiny town in Wyoming where my ex had just built a vacation house. I didn't even know that circle existed. The ex husband and your good friend live in the same town hundreds of miles away circle. Let's not forget your dying friend says good bye circle.
Back at the party yesterday, where Sally and I were catching up, I found out that Dennis and Sally's sis got back together at some point and made a baby. That baby grew up and just got married a few weeks ago. So everybody from both sides of the family was at the wedding.
Sally, an aunt, said she had sighted Brian, an uncle, at the nuptials. Usually Brian's path crosses mine when he gets within a degree or two of people I know. Maybe a new circle is beginning. Another circle closed, for the families at least, with the wedding.
Finally, Sally and I are both friends of yesterday's party host. She met him the regular way. For those of you still reading this, I was the computer acquisition mentioned earlier. For three years, he has been dating a woman I had never met until his sixtieth birthday party.
This is not so startling, except his girlfriend and I grew up in the same town, went to the same church, buried our mothers around the same age in the same cemetery, had a lot of the same friends while we were married and never set eyes on each other. Now she and the host are breaking up and she and I have become friends. We should have been friends all this time, but never were. Not exactly a circle, but if you squint your eyes. . .
Then there's Sally's brother and my brother, who spent a lot of time getting into trouble together when they were young. Strangely they're both doing similar things with their lives. We talked about closing that circle, by exchanging their phone numbers for them so they can talk on the phone.
Sally and i have come full circle too. After yesterday, we started another one. It'll probably close when we run into each other in the hallway of an old people's home where they roll you out in your wheelchairs and line you up to spend the day. "Zat you Sal?"
And the book Sally's mother wrote that I wanted to heist from the bedside table? She was surprised that someone other than family had seen it, when I told her I'd read it. Somewhere there's a dusty copy so one of these days I can read it again. And close that circle.
Probably time to stop circling so much. Everybody's got to be getting dizzy.
UPDATE: Another CIRCLE or two:
At the New Year's Eve party I went to there was a woman who was an arms dealer. You read that right. She will be relevant in a sentence or two.
At the party on New Year's Day, Sally mentioned a guy she used to work with whose name was Dietmar or something like that.
Today I called my hostess from the New Year's Eve party to thank her and mentioned how unusual it was to meet a female arms dealer. Turns out she is the sister in law of the hosts' friend, Dietmar who wasn't at either party. Really? Is he the same Dietmar who worked at my friend Sally's old company? YES!! YOU KNOW SALLY?
Holy cow!! Two circles closed.