Today is the birthday of someone I used to know.
We met when his family moved into the house next door to my family. He was around five years old I think, which made me about seven. Our families stayed neighbors while we grew up. We played together in our youth, weren't always close friends over the years, yet did maintain acquaintance. After achieving adulthood we both settled down in the same town where we were raised. We had friends in common and soon found ourselves with a renewed friendship of our own.
He married a woman I knew from high school. She and I became fast friends.
And what a friend she was. She was my rock during a very difficult time in my life. During a time when friends were few and far between. When friends I thought I had suddenly no longer were friends. Either by them shying away because they did not want to deal with the wreck that was my life, or because I could not deal with sharing the pain of the wreck that was my life. Divorce has that effect. It mangles families, it mangles friendships.
But this post isn't about her. It's about him. Since it's his birthday and all.
Our friendship was mangled when he divorced his wife. Friends get split up like household furnishings and automobiles. When he pulled away from our friendship, I was not surprised. I had done the same thing to friends when I got divorced. It wasn't personal, really. It was more an emotional overload thing. There is only so much one person can handle, you know?
But what I don't know and what I'll never know is if he realized I completely understood why he left her. If he could have looked me in the eye, he would have known. He would have known he was not the only one who had done something horrific to people he loved in pursuit of a more idealistic love. Such a lofty concept, idealistic love.
I wonder what I would say were I to run into him today? Well if it were actually today, I'd say "Happy birthday, Frank." Outside of that, I'm just not sure.