[...]Sit down tonight
And write him about the life you can talk about
With a claim to authority, the life you've witnessed,
Which for all you know is the life you've chosen.
- from Carl Dennis' The God who Loves You
Thea, Oz, and I agreed to meet up at a cafe just across Oz and my college alma mater. For Thea, it was an adventure; she studies at a rival school and would have little reason to head west of the city if we hadn't prodded her. For Oz and I, it was a chance to see up close how much things had changed since we graduated ten years ago.
Has it really been a decade? Some of our old haunts were still there, true, but most sported new faces. The small University Mall, dimly-lit and almost seedy-looking in my memory now looked very different. The Korean-inspired cafe we went to was one of the hipper (hipster?) additions to a neighborhood that was once littered with computer rental shops and shawarma places. As we picked our poisons, green tea and caramel in tall glasses, we reminisced about almost-hads and might-have-beens, in between moments of quiet which I'm sure took us in the opposite direction of the paths we had picked for ourselves back then.
I told them the cafe reminded me of the ones in Korea, the ones I wish I could visit again. What I really wanted to say was this: I wonder who I'd be if I had been born a decade later, if I were a student now, sipping coffee and doodling on a Polaroid in between classes. How much of myself would be reinvented, improved, discarded? Oh, the possibilities.