There are photos of him doing island-hopping, looking a little shellshocked, and then his daughter's friends from the deaf school's senior pictures where they're all wishing each other things that everyone writes in high school and I wonder if their lives turned out any better than hers and somehow this really gets to me because it's so sad.
And then one of my Kentinistas picks me up and we drive down for the annual pre-Thanksgiving dinner we all have together, or all of us who can make it, because some of our number are now saving orphans in Liberia and teaching in Japan and re-enacting the Civil war with the girlfriend and working at national parks in Alaska and Colorado, and I mingle with some friends of friends who've been similarly adopted into this circle. We've been getting together for dinners and revelry for years now, Thanksgiving feasts in college once punctuated by the "record parties" on Sunday night where the guys would experiment with tandoori chicken and grilled peaches and we'd listen to Queen and Deep Purple and the The Clash.
I realize about halfway through the night that I'm buzzed enough on one Christmas Ale and everyone else is has had way more food and drink than me and eventually it reaches the point where there's much less to say. Me and J drive home through snow that's blowing like crazy until we hit the county line, listening to old school hip-hop on satellite radio and pondering the use of the metric system as a measurement only used for drugs and guns, and maybe this is my favorite part of the night, because I'm learning all sorts of interesting stuff about banks and terrorism and we have a year's worth of stories to catch up on.
In between, I hover between feeling awesome and badass on the edge of 30 and also depressed as heck. The other night I was trying to counsel a friend through his dark nights of the soul and then I get my own the next two days and find the only thing I can do is lay down in a dark room and sleep for half an hour or so until it all goes away and get some homework done and realize that I totally melted the people I'm housesitting for's teakettle because the whistle never went off. So it goes. And goes.