Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's a Small World, After All

What an interesting day.

It started out with a drive up to Lake City, where the Exploder needed a cruise control service recall done. I guess the cruise control fluid is capable of leaking, which can somehow lead to instant death or something else just as harmless. The service job was free, and even though I was told I'd probably be there for an hour, the shop was empty, and I was back on the road in ten minutes! Not a bad start to the weekend!

I brought my cleats with me to the servicing, and I swung by Greenlake on the way home, to see if the Saturday pickup game is still going on. When I got to the park, it looked like the entire field was being taken up by youth soccer games. I almost gave up and headed home, but I decided the day was nice enough, so if no frisbee was happening, I could always jog around the lake or play some basketball. When I got to the field, I saw some huge orange cones being setup by a guy who looked like he might play frisbee. The cones we use are usually a lot smaller, but with all the foot-traffic, they've learned over the months that the big cones work much better to keep people off the field.

Frisbee players began to show up as soon as we grabbed a disc and began tossing. About the seventh guy to show up ended up being none-other than Alex Morrison, a fellow member of the FUCK IT club from November 2006-December 2006. FUCK IT was a club of four of us, Alex, Emily, Kristen and myself. To be a member, you had to be living with your parents and be unemployed. Winners, pretty much. You just had to be a cool winner to be in the club. We went out to drink on week nights and contemplated having a beer pong night at Kristen's place, but that never materialized.I also played tennis with him at RHS.

We tossed for a few minutes, and soon we had enough for a game of six on six. Minutes later, we began 7 on 7, which lasted for a steady two hours.

The second person I recognized at frisbee today, Boris, I played frisbee with in middle school. I remember him because he has a twin brother, Victor, who also played. They were two of about five Russian kids who attended Eckstein, so it wasn't a surprise that I remembered him and he didn't remember me. We talked for a bit and he verified that he was on the Eckstein frisbee team with me that won middle-school spring league (which was our 8th grade year).

The third person I recognized was a shocker. Joe Cater. He is the brother of my ex-girlfriend Sara, the one before Stacey. I really only met him once, maybe twice. The only time I remember meeting him is when Sara and I took a road trip over to Montana in the summer between my Junior and Senior years at UPS. We spent a night in Gonzaga, where Joe had just finished his Freshman year, and he had just moved into an off-campus house. Joe, his new girlfriend, Sara and I all went out to a well-lit grassy field and tossed the disc, because Sara had been telling Joe about my frisbee skielz, so the first thing he wanted to do was toss the disc! I remember that he could huck the beejeebus out of the disc, and we tossed the disc from one end of the field to the other.

The guy on our team looked a lot like Joe, and when I saw the Gonzaga shirt, I asked:

"Joe Cater??"

He looks at me quixotically.

"I'm Chris, Sara and I used to date a few years ago."

"Oh, yeah! How have you been?"

We got along great, and although I didn't think anything would be terribly awkward between us, I know that he and his sister are pretty tight.

When Sara and I broke up, we hadn't really had a single fight before then, and we didn't even really have a fight that night. She brought up religion (she's Christian, I'm nothing), and said how she needed a break, because she always envisioned herself in a marriage between herself, her husband, and God. I took the news pretty roughly, and even though our five-month relationship had been all peaches and cream, I pretty much gave her the cold shoulder from then on.

I think she envisioned us spending as much time together as we had been, but possibly talking more and making out less. But I was hurt, and I didn't want much of anything to do with her. We talked a couple of times in the weeks to follow, but I was always brief, even though I could tell that she was hurt too, and didn't intend for our "taking a break" to be like this. Looking back at things, I didn't handle the situation very well at all. I'm not sure I would have done it any differently at the time, but I've changed a lot in the last few years, and I regret the childish actions I took after our breakup.

So, Joe, Alex, Boris and I, along with 10 others are playing frisbee, having a great time. In between the points, as we walk back to the line to start the next point, Joe and I talk about what we're up to now and what we've done in the last few years. Joe has been quite productive! Bachelor's in Accounting, Master's in Accounting, and he passed the CPA exam this summer. He's working as a CPA for a firm downtown, and he also has a 7-month old baby girl, with the girlfriend I met that summer four years ago in Spokane. His now wife (I can't remember her name), is a 1st grade teacher on maternity leave, and they live over in Phinney Ridge.

I told him a bit about where I've been, and what my plans are for the next few years. I asked what Sara is up to, and he said she is doing a residency program at the VA hospital in Seattle. I guess she is working 30-hour shifts, and only has 3 days off from now until her return to Montana to start the surgery portion of her program to be a doctor. Then he remembered:

"Oh wait, she's actually jogging around the lake with my wife and the baby. She'll probably stop by in a few minutes."

Wait, what was that?

Talking with her brother is one thing, but Sara and I haven't talked or seen each other in almost four years, and we didn't leave on great terms! I had a chance to see her in November, because she still keeps in touch with my Dad (I thought I wrote about that in a post back in November, but it must have been in a private journal). She was invited over for dinner before my parents knew I'd be moving home for the holidays after Stacey and I broke up. In November, I wasn't ready to talk to Sara then, and I ducked out to Tyler's for the evening.

But today was a different story. I've had six months or so in Tahoe to find out who I am, and what I want to be. I'm on a very good path to become a teacher, and I've finally realized that being a teacher is something I can do for the rest of my life. When it comes to mind, body and spirit, I'm peaking in all three categories for I think the first time in my life. I really like where I'm at right now, and I like where I'll hopefully be a few years from now. Add to all of that a quick service job this morning, playing ultimate, and reuniting with Alex, Boris and Joe--bring on the ex!

When Sara, Joe's wife, and the baby showed up, they watched us play for a minute, then walked over to an open spot on the grass. She didn't wave, but I think she was probably a bit caught off guard, as I would have been if I hadn't expected her coming. She sort of ducked behind a tree and did some stretching while Joe finished up playing frisbee. Joe and I played two more points, then headed over to where Sara, baby, and wife sat.

Sara and I shared a hug, and all of the hostility from our last meeting four years ago was gone. It felt really good to be able to sit down and chat with her and Joe for fifteen minutes or so. We played with baby Jane in the grass, talked about what we're up to and just had a really nice time. I got both Sara and Joe's phone numbers, even though Sara won't have much free time between now and when she moves back to Montana, and Joe's got a 7-month old baby to help take care of. But, I think they'll be able to find a night or two in the next month to go out for a drink. Both Joe and Sara are amazing people, two of the nicest people I know, and I'm glad I was able to mend a fence today and start up an old friendship (and possibly add Joe to my basketball roster for the winter!).

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