With slushy snow lining the soles of my beige flats, I trudge on. I am walking 10 blocks on 17th to reach The Tavern, a cozy uptown restaurant and bar east of Capitol Hill.
I am meeting (ahem, “networking”) a Young Professionals group a part of World Denver – an organization with a mission to “strengthen and expand the community of engaged global citizens and organizations in Colorado provide them with opportunities to activate their interest in citizen diplomacy through education, cross-cultural exchange, and personal interaction with international dignitaries and professionals.”
Phew. It’s a mouthful and yet it is exactly the kind of groups I have been seeking here in Denver.
My dad’s aunt’s friend (yes, that’s how you hear about most things, isn’t it?) connected me to the group and so I figured “why not?” Why not join the group as an annual member and why not start out by going to their first networking event of the year. Joining has seemingly proved to be a brilliant idea when a nice gentleman shared his nachos and I met a funny, open, and intelligent group of young people. A less brilliant idea, however, was me having to walk the 10 blocks; to a city dweller this may seem like nothing – and it is- but the truth is that I took the light rail train all the way downtown without verifying where we were meeting first. And then, of course, my data plan fails for the month and so I became relegated to asking fellow street walkers and train riders where to go. Yes, sometimes I can be a stranger to my own city. Or just that person. You know what I am talking about.
As I walked and found a somewhat clear sense of direction, I thought about what it’s like to walk big city streets alone.
I kept my green bag near the top of my right leg and I walked swiftly as the lights and snow glistened amidst the cars, bikes, and busy streets. It was a city to be sure, but nothing like New York City.
When we perused Bryant Park and made our way to the New York Public Library, I noticed people are everywhere. In every corner, in every square foot of the sidewalk, and in every car moving every which way. The magnitude of structures, taxis, humans, black leggings, and big purses alarmed me. This was America – her shining city – and yet I felt like I was in a foreign place. Even in Times Square, right before seeing Chicago, when we came up from the underground Subway, I couldn’t even breathe. LIGHTS! … I was pushed out of the way, certainly more mindful of the absolute crowd in this particular neck of the woods.
The word that kept ringing through my head during my trip out East was convergence.
Lives intersecting from every which way.
It was very much the ideas behind the reason for my trip in the first place: we girls have a reunion once a year where we can take a “time out” from our lives to be together. So we boarded trains, planes, and automobiles and came from Colorado, Texas, Alabama, Connecticut, and of course New York itself to celebrate the little time we do have to share together. It was a precious times to hear about love interests, seminary tales, new jobs, old ones, moves and transitions, and what life has been full of, especially within the past year.
These are the same girls I met and became friends with back in 2007 when the idea of convergence was very much the same, if not stronger.
The states have been slightly altered, wedding bands added, with adulthood thrown into the mix (bills included, unfortunately) and it’s not hard to have the same feeling of awe like it was flying over the city and seeing the size of it all. It’s amazing and incredible to see where the past few years have taken all of us, and where life continually moves us toward.
During our time, we walked many city blocks. Not alone, but together. And ultimately, that has been the case ever since we were little freshman at Hendrix. We have seen each other through political enlightenments, religious transformation, holidays, illness, death of family members, cafeteria specials, graduation, travel in and out of the states, weddings, and what I really would call “the roaring twenties”. You see, these girls are my best friends and so distance or time does not really mark the comradery established so long ago. Our lives no longer converge regularly, but the beautiful part is that they don’t need to.
We walked the Chelsea Highline at night, on my birthday, and I kept feeling just so special that my birthday got to be celebrated with some of the people I love the most. I felt this immense gratitude as we ate one, two, and countless amounts of bagels, sang songs on the way to Connecticut, meandered cute little cafes, sipped coffee, and had meals together. One night, we ate through at least three blocks of cheese with some wine. Yeah, some things really never change.
These girls – Ali, Lauren, Rachel, Jordana, and Michelle – they are friends for life and that is the one of the gems in my life that I am continually reminded to be thankful for. God, thank you. Girls, thank you too.
Here’s to 8 years of friendship, craziness, and far too many “hey girl hey”s. I love y’all.