Sunday Morning, 7 a.m.
Oil on canvas, 6x12
Oil on canvas, 6x12
I spent a lovely evening on Saturday in the outdoor garden cafe of the Hygienic, on Bank Street in New London.
A group called Drunken Boat, which includes my brother, Rand Cooper, was reading/performing, and so I went. The show had its ups and downs, but Rand's reading - an article about my parents and their love of New London restaurants - delighted me.
But I went with trepidation, suspecting (correctly, it turned out) that I'd see people I knew from when I was in high school.
It's taken me a while to begin to understand these fears. Partly - and oh, so superficially - I'm old and fat and gray-haired, and embarrassed by all of that. In my imagination, my peers are as slender and strong and vital as they were when we were 17.
On a deeper level, I've come to understand that I don't really like the person that I was in high school. In fact, when I was in high school, I didn't really like the person that I was. So now, I really don't want to be reminded of that person. I don't want to be thought of as that person, by people who only knew me as that person, and I really don't want to somehow be sucked into being that person again - as I might be, interacting with people who only knew me as that person.
A friend brought up an interesting idea. She said that the only way we can be sure that these old friends don't think of us as we were is to dive in, do the scary and off-putting thing, make the new connections and show them the people we are now.
And, as it almost always turns out, seeing my old friends and acquaintances last night was really, truly fun. I had a great time, and enjoyed walking on shared ground.
So this morning, painting in New London, on streets I haunted as a teenager, I felt a sort of peace, a reconciliation with my past, an appreciation for who I was then and who I am now, a lifting of the morning's fog.