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2005-11-17 - 8:47 a.m.
The Best of Youth
Twenty minutes of vicarious revelry.
Yesterday evening's bus ride saw a very all-American cabal of what must have been freshmen, at least fifteen of them, both men and women, pile onto the bus at the last minute. It was so crowded that they were all pretty much standing in the aisle, being good-humoredly boisterous.
It was someone's birthday and they were all headed downtown somewhere for dinner. Soon after the bus pulled out, one of the guys made an announcement: "People on the bus. Hey, people on the bus, we'd like you to please join us in singing Happy Birthday to Jillian. She's eighteen today." After which, of course, the whole bus broke into song.
I was, of course, transfixed by the group of boys standing closest to me. However, it wasn't only their undisputable well-groomed, fresh-faced attractiveness. It was their unworried, thoroughly joyful demeanor as well. Of course the girls exhibited this too. It was definitely infectious; I felt wrapped up in their good time and transported to carefree good times of my own, which often feel long past. That kind of group camaraderie is something I think some of us lose as we grow older and more solitary. Good times with friends, at least for me, haven't been large or even medium-sized group outings for quite sometime. Mostly, I'm content to have less than a handful of good friends with whom I can spend quality times, both serious and fun. But there is mostly just nostalgia now for those types of parties, outings, sprees. Something about it feels wistfully collegiate.
And I noticed one of the boys playfully, but almost imperceptibly, tickle another under the arm while they were strap-hanging. It seemed such an innocent, unself-conscious act, that I was envious of feeling that unguarded and physically comfortable with friends. I knew then that I wanted to write about it, and to remember being privy to that moment of chaste intimacy.
I'm tired of and somewhat saddened by the "adult" walls and boundaries we sometimes build around ourselves.
If we choose to.
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