Four Lost Friends – Nick & Craig

This is the second half of a long post I had written. Here are the first two friends along with a little introduction. And here are the other two:

Nick
Nick and I went to the same grade school, high school, and college. In both grade school and high school we had the same classes. In grade school, we were merely classmates. In high school we would often walk to class together since my house was on his way to school. And during our later years of high school we even did things together after school like go to the movies and hanging out.

In our last semester of high school, everyone in our class was determining what we going to do the next year. A good percentage of us were going to the same school and one of the others, Paul, asked me one day if I wanted to room with him. I wasn’t entirely sure about rooming with him, but I also wasn’t big on telling people “no” (in the interest of keeping good relations and to avoid rejecting others). So I asked if Nick could join us. So Nick, Paul, and I would be living together in a dorm room slightly bigger than one meant for two people.

It started off quite well. The first semester we were doing things together and having a good time. But slowly things started to deteriorate between Paul and I. Even though we shared more interests than either of us did with Nick, we were really getting on each other nerves. Nick on the other hand got along quite well with both of us and did an excellent job of distancing himself from our conflict. At the end of the year it came time to determine where we would be staying the following year. He asked if I would room with him, but I was worried that I would risk losing him as a friend also if we did. I also saw it as another chance to meet somebody new. And I would be entering my second year of architecture which was known for allowing for little time for anything outside of studio. So I would likely be non-existant. I thought it would be better for him to have someone else who would be there full time.

It was true. I was not there very often. Nick got a freshman roommate in the same major. They got along great and even roomed together the year or two after. I’d occasionally do things with them, but it was not often.

The following year I studied abroad in France and this is what I regret. Although back then, the primary method to reach others back home was by snail mail, I don’t remember ever sending him anything to keep in touch. Not even postcard. I don’t think I even called him up to get his address before leaving. I was so entrenched with what was going on and a very small circle of close family and friends, that I did not reach out to all the others in my life. I’m sure many shook it off since I was still kinda young and in the middle of an intense experience. But still, there were nine months to drop everyone a postcard.

And I think Nick showed me how that lack of consideration can change things. I only saw him twice after that and he did not say a word to me. He gave me a dirty look and walked away. And as with John, I was ashamed to have let something like that go.

Craig
When I went to study abroad in Versailles, I knew almost everyone but there was not really anyone that I had hung out with regularly. There were also a few people who had come from different programs. Craig had transferred from a junior college and knew no one. Toward the start of the year we started doing class assignments together and found that we got along. Then when our first travel break came up Craig asked if I would join the small group that he was going with. It was travelling by backpack at it’s finest. We covered seven cities in just over two weeks. There was one person who decided to take on the leadership role for the group, but did not make very good decisions and tended to be a bit dictorial about his place. So as people realized I was good with maps, that role transfered to me. Craig got along well with both myself and the dictator and did well at keeping our heads level.

After that trip, we both took part in a group trip in the spring and our friendship further developed. Since Craig was a newbie to the group he felt fairly strongly as a outsider. I also felt like a bit of an outsider, but I had more of a history with the group. So we shared that outsider tag to a degree. At the end of the year we had a two week group watercolor sketch trip. Again since I had maps and a train schedule, I tended to play tour guide when we got to new places. So the instructor kept me close and Craig, the instructor, and I spent our nights drinking and conversing together. It was a great time and one I’ll never forget.

But when we returned stateside the following year, things changed. I had returned to all my friends and was back in familiar surroundings. But Craig was once again an outsider in a new place. I was trying to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen the previous year. He was watching many of the people he had gotten to know slowly disappear. We did some things together, but it seemed our interests were different. I wanted to go out to bars, movies, or parties, while he wanted to sit drinking in his apartment. He was very critical of the college kids and although I had also been like that when I got there, I was used to them and less critical after three years. For me he was different than the adventurous guy I befriended overseas and I guess I took the easy route consuming my time with other available activities. But now I wonder if I could have done more to make him feel more welcome. Or even found a way to continue our friendship.

So I’ve lost contact with all of them. I’ve tried the modern way of trying to reconnect with them (Google), but found only the phone number for Nick. I’ve debated a couple times whether to give it a try, but given how our last two encounters went I’m quite unsure whether I want to experience that again. But maybe the years have made the difficult times fade and the good times more apparent. Who knows?

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~ by Frank on December 5, 2007.

2 Responses to “Four Lost Friends – Nick & Craig”

  1. Facebook or let it go, I say.

  2. That’s been the odd thing. Very few people from my past seem to be interested in these social networking sites (classmates, facebook, and linked in). At least the ones I’m interested in trying to reconnect with. Even at our 10 year high school reunion, I had a few people I was interested in seeing after not having contact and none of them were there. As you suggest, maybe the reconnect will happen someday, but until then just let it be.

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