On the afternoon of the reunion I hadn’t decided whether I would go or not. But the event was scheduled to happen two hundred miles from where I was standing, so it seemed unlikely.

We wandered around our old neighborhood, contemplating once again the question of moving back to the NW. There is no consensus within the marital unit: opinions change with the seasons.

At almost the exact second I had to decide whether or not to head north I started getting texts from friends who had just learned I was in town. They informed me there was a birthday party for Marisa, and I should definitely cancel all other plans to attend.

When I rolled up to the party I found something quite unexpected: yes, the yard and house were teeming with strangers, but there were dozens of people I knew and loved including several I had not seen in seventeen years. I had wandered, accidentally and serendipitously, into a different kind of reunion.

The group of people sitting in Marisa’s yard are only loosely connected, we’ve scattered all over the world, meetings are erratic. But this is a basic truth: nobody asks me questions I cannot answer. Nobody cares about my job, or is puzzled by where I live. They do know my kids, but they don’t know my cousins. Or rather, a couple of them are probably my blood kin, but none of us would bother to figure out the details.

In fact, these people are perfectly happy to sit next to me without talking at all – and there are no awkward silences.

The people I befriended in my late 20’s have many things in common, but it isn’t easy to define why we’re friends. I suspect a key element is the fact that seventeen years can pass without comment.

We’re all doing what we want to do, whatever that is, wherever it is. I never know where I’ll see them, because we’re always in transit.