It was a lively celebration of a few friends' birthdays. We gathered around the table and shared chocolate cake, while balloons bobbed above our heads. We invited the birthday boys to offer words of wisdom, which they largely declined. It turns out that having the soapbox is not always an enviable goal in your late
I sang a silly song, using words that captured some of what they care about. Not that five or fifteen lines can express the milestones of a life well lived. Still it made us laugh, and whoop between verses.
Someone asked for a copy,
which I had written on the back of a piece of mail. Another person asked if I keep duplicates of these light-hearted songs I compose for such occasions. I admitted that I don't.
At another time in the conversation, someone broke into the Garfunkel song about Old Friends, and I chimed in. Not having thought about it for years, I was surprised how easily we both spilled
forth the lyrics. It felt comfortable to croon about this moment, old friends not on a park bench but in antique chairs, with the newspaper beside us on the table spelling out stories that will be obsolete by next week.
What is the intersection between what endures, like a song I learned in high school, and a ditty I composed in an afternoon last Saturday that need not
be remembered next Tuesday? What qualities are germane to a relationship that still gives us enough of a reason to show up with balloons on a rainy September morning? How do ephemeral and durable face off with one another?
I am speechless, much like my friends. But the cake, which is swallowed and gone, is still sweet enough to taste.