“Sometimes I remind myself that I almost skipped the party, that I almost went to a different college, that the whim of a minute could have changed everything and everyone. Our lives, so settled, so specific, are built on happenstance.” —Anna Quindlen, Every Last One
The older I get (and today that's officially old), the more I think happenstance has nothin to do with it. Sorry Anna, but I'm more of a tender mercy and divine intervention kinda gal. (Let's not let this minor quibble damage the imaginary friendship we've got going.)
That's not to say decisions don't matter. Would I have met Tray if I hadn't chosen to attend London Study Abroad the winter of '88? Oh how I hope so. What if I hadn't picked the University of Utah as my grad school? Would I have crossed paths with my husband Matt anyway? Thank heaven (literally) I don't have to find out. What I do know is they were both placed in my path at the precise moment they were for a reason, and my life forever changed for the better.
When Tray drove six hours last Saturday to show up on my doorstep, unannounced, with two tickets to London in her hand, I was reminded all over again what a tender mercy this once-in-lifetime friend of mine is. I hit the jackpot with Tracy Jackson, folks. And my husband, co-conspirator extraordinaire, sweetened the pot this morning with a gift card to London. It was conspicuously absent of an amount, which clearly means I've been given carte blanche. He shouldn't have. Really.
So this October, after nearly thirty years for me and twenty for her, we're heading back to where it all began. Together. I'm thinking 27 Palace Court should put us up for a night, don't you? Come to think of it, we'll leave the bunk beds and communal bathrooms to the college kids—we'll settle for a walk through the halls for old time's sake. Maybe even curl up with a good book in 27's library. Wherever we go, we'll bring you all along. Vicariously, that is. Unless of course you cough up your own ticket and secure lovely accommodations for us all, then we'll talk.
For the rest of you, we'll post lots of pictures and in not a one will we look like this:
Rae and Tray in the streets of London...or somewhere in Europe...I can't tell you because I neglected to mark any of my pictures from Study Abroad with dates and locations. Brilliant. How 'bout those acid-wash jeans? We clearly had a penchant for denim.