I met my best friend G on the first day of kindergarten. It was September of 1974. We went to school together until the end of 5th grade at which time our parents opted to have us avoid being bussed to school and we left our elementary school haunts for new digs.
We lived in the same neighborhood so the different schools didn’t split us apart, it just meant that we spent less time together. But after school you could find us on our bikes tooling around the neighborhood, watching the Twilight Zone, throwing rocks at the UPS truck, or doing a hundred other things that could and would get us into trouble.
We were reunited in high school where we resumed our habit of eating lunch together. There were very few days in which we didn’t eat together. Neither one of us got sick much, so usually if we missed a lunch it was because I was out for one of the Jewish holidays.
After high school we ended up at the same university, but our schedules really did prevent us from getting together on campus as much as we would have liked to. Nonetheless we managed it. And as we made new friends they would ask us how we had managed not to lose touch. It was almost a silly question, G and I will always be friends, I can’t remember life without him.
Fast forward a number of years. We are both out of school and G is working for the NASD as a compliance officer. He goes to various brokerages and verifies that all of the transactions taking place are legal.
It is September of 2001. G works and lives in LA, but the job requires that he travel. He is in New York and working in the WTC. I am supposed to be there as well for a trade show, but the stock market has taken a dive and the company is cutting down on expenses so I am not able to go.
911 hits. I watch the news for about 20 minutes before I realize that the last time G and I spoke was while he was still in Manhattan. I can’t remember when he is supposed to come home and I start making telephone calls. I am not panicked, but I am nervous.
I finally get a hold of him. He is back in LA and has been for a few days. He had been working at Cantor Fitzgerald and wonders if anyone that he worked with survived the collapse of the towers. I am just thankful that he is ok, we are too young to die.
Fast forward to this morning, January 26th, 2005. I am reading the news when I hear about a train wreck in which there are casualties.
I listen to the report and know that it is the route that he takes to work. It takes me ten minutes to locate him by telephone, but he is ok. It was the train before his. I tell him that I am glad that he is ok, just thankful. And then I tell him that if he scares me like this again I am going to break his legs.
After more than 30 years I am not giving up our friendship, not yet. It is just another reminder that life can change in a heartbeat. Live it well and make sure that those you love know that you love them.