“The bar is closing. But there’s another one around the corner that stays open later. You guys in?” Jeff was trying to round everyone up but it was like herding cats. He had been Billy’s best friend in high school and was the nicest guy. Even to this day. The poor bartender wanted to go home and Jeff was doing his best to get us out the door. Finally, he pulled out his iPhone and yelled, “Everyone, let’s take a group picture” after asking the bartender to snap one.
We then left, running to the next bar, where we got in before they shut the doors. Jeff ordered a round of shots and started reminiscing about the antics various friends pulled. At one time, we all lived fairly close to one another. And being kids, we would regularly sneak out of our parents houses to go ice blocking on the local golf course. Quite often, this led to several teenagers riding a forgotten golf cart through fog covered hills. Now a days, kids would be arrested for doing such things. But back then, well…things were just different (thankfully).
As the laughs and reminiscing continued, whatever I had felt with Billy earlier seemed to dissipate. And actually, I started to question whether I misjudged the situation entirely. The rest of the night, it just felt like old friends catching up. The same four or five girls (and their husbands) were hanging out with the same 6 or 7 guys (some single, some married, and a few in committed long-term relationships). I couldn’t help but think, for being so hesitant to go, this reunion honestly turned out better than I imagined.
And I wasn’t the only one who felt this way either. As the final bar closed, the stragglers descended upon an empty parking lot where everyone continued to talk. Eventually, a couple offered to have everyone back to their house. So we jumped into some waiting taxi’s and headed over to their place. My husband went straight to bed (we previously arranged to stay the night at this couples home). So the group whittled down to six, Billy included.
Someone had the bright idea to raid the freezer and started making food. There we stood, leaning against kitchen counters listening to Jeff and Billy trade insults, just like when we were kids. Only now, one made fun of the extra weight one carried, while the other made fun of how skinny he was. Needless to say, being the best friends they were, they could joke about stuff like this and get away with it.
I finally went to bed around 4:30, where my husband laid conked out. As I drifted off to sleep all I could think was, “This was single-handedly the best night out I have had…in years.”
Two and a half hours later, my husband and I woke up. Unfortunately, we are trained to do so. Because this is the time when Vivian would normally crawl into our bed. We decided it would be best to drive back home and relieve our sitter. Halfway through our journey home, we stopped for breakfast. Slightly hung-over and definitely exhausted, I sat quietly waiting to order while my husband left to use the restroom.
It was my cell phone going off, deep inside my purse. I fished it out and saw one of those automated messages from Facebook in my inbox. As I looked down at my phone, my heart began to race. Considering it was only 8 a.m., I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“Billy wants to be friends”