This roll of film is far from my favorite, nearly every photo is under exposed. What’s more than that is that I didn’t like the assignments we had to complete with these photos. I see two in particular, the self portrait and the still life. I struggled with both for some different reasons and some of the same reasons. Mostly, I didn’t want to be the subject of my own photography. I still don’t. Sure, with my phone I take photos of myself and other people but that just feels different. Phone photos are throwaway and film as more ‘art’ to it. I don’t think I’m the art when I’m shooting a roll.
Moving past me, I see a lot of faces I recognize here and a few that I don’t. That’s the thing about looking at photos taken 20 years ago, it gives you an opportunity to stop and wonder. For me, I wonder where everyone ended up after high school because I didn’t do a good job keeping track of people. A few of the people that I ran in the same crowds with I’ve heard updates about from those who I have kept in touch with, but most everyone else has just faded away.
Take, for example, Aidan. He’s flashing a big smile down below. We were really good friends starting in middle school and on through high school. At some point, his family moved into the house two doors down and I spent a lot of time at his house playing video games and watching the Daily Show and South Park. I gave him a ride to school most days, we ate lunch at the same table together all four years of high school, and just overall were good friends.
After high school, we even went to college together. His dorm was close to mine, but we gradually just stopped hanging out. I found new friends and so did he. For a while, I think I resented him for some reason. Somehow, to college me, it was his fault for not making an effort and for finding new friends when I did the exact same thing. Every now and then throughout college, Aidan would pop up. Heck, one of my favorite nights of all of college was just me and Aidan.
For whatever reason, everyone else bailed on going out that night and Aidan and I just wandered. I think we were ultimately heading to a bar, but on the way we somehow invited ourselves to a party and I kid you not we entered and existed that party by climbing up the fire escape to the building. I’m pretty sure someone had to hoist us from street level. It was wild. As we were leaving that party and making our way to the bar Aidan revealed he had swiped a souvenir from the party, a pocket Kama Sutra. Not to be outdone, when we got to the bar I found a souvenir of my own and came home with one of my prized cups, a pink cup that states “I’m getting married bitches” on it. Sorry to the bride to be.
After college I went off to Peace Corps and lost touch with just about everyone, Aidan included. My friends lost touch with him too. The only connections I still had to him were LinkedIn and updates I’d get from my mom talking to his mom. And that’s how I found out about six months ago that not only was Aidan married and living on the West coast but he had welcomed a daughter not long after I did. I wanted to reach out and wish him congratulations and all but felt weird about it since so much time had passed without really anything.
Eventually, I worked through my fear and tried his old email on a whim. Not much later, I heard back from him and we had a nice email chat updating each other on our lives as family men. The thought of reconnecting still makes me happy.
So, I know what Aidan has been up to since high school, but what about everyone else? If you’re reading this and knew me in high school, let me know. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.