A Short Word on Friendships & Canals

Have you ever just sat on a canal bank and watched the water swirl by? Maybe that’s a little too country for y’all…. But picture any body of water that moves linearly and you’ll catch my meaning. The river is and always will be there, however the water you’re watching isn’t the same water you’ll see in even the next 30 seconds. You’ll never see that particular patch of water again, actually.

January 2007, after a dismal semester of college, I moved in with my paternal grandmother in Idaho Falls, ID. We agreed instead of burning through time and money to “discover myself” it would be more productive to just take some time off school and work. There were, of course, conditions of living with her. Paramount was church attendance. To her credit, she was cognizant I also needed a social life so she reached out to the single son of a fellow church goer and ask him to take me to the singles congregation.

By the second Sunday, I opened the door to a tall, handsome stranger. He grinned like an idiot and chatted all four blocks down the road to the building the singles met in. This congregation consisted of eight individuals on a good week, and we all became fast friends. There wasn’t a single day for the rest of that winter and summer that we didn’t get together.

To this day, that summer was perhaps the most idyllic – a pleasant rhythm developed of watching the old school X-men cartoons, kicking stones and shooting the breeze around the canal that ran between our houses, Sunday game nights, group dinners, romances, dramas, breakups, healings, apologies, adventures…. We had it all.

Near the end, there was one Sunday afternoon walk along the canal that I couldn’t shake this feeling: none of us will ever be here again. Not together. Not like this. Later that week, a few of us announced our plans to move, others confessed they’d already registered for classes at schools out of the Snake River plateau area, and one-by-one we voiced what we already knew. We all got a bit misty eyed and watched the sunset, listening to the gurgle of the canal and recognizing that our run between the banks of Idaho Falls was coming to an end.

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