I took a trip down memory lane today, and visited some old friends.
R was invited to a birthday party by a friend from his old school, a 40 minute drive away, so I took the opportunity to catch up with another mum from the school, who I used to spend hours talking to in the mornings.
Back then, it seemed like we were just passing time, talking about whatever was going on for us, and it wasn’t until the school closed and I didn’t get to see any of the parents any more, that I realised I actually had friends at the school, and I missed them.
It’s only been 4 months since the school closed down, but it would seem that more than just time has flowed since then.
Although everyone and everything looked the same, something was different.
I don’t think it’s that we were unfamiliar to each other, because it really hasn’t been that long.
I enjoyed my time talking, but it didn’t flow as easily, I found moments when I felt awkward, and didn’t know what to say, which was very surprising.
And when I went to say goodbye, I gave my friend a hug, and it would have to be one of the most uncomfortable hugs I’ve ever had.
And then, when I picked R up, I chatted a bit to his friend’s dad, who has always seemed a little awkward around me.
That was still there, but I almost felt a kind of sadness.
I know it’s been hard for all of the parents, adjusting to the loss of their community.
But it’s also been a surprise to may of the parents how well the kids have adjusted, and how many of them actually seem happier.
And as I drive away from these two unsettling experiences, I became very unsettled myself. Almost spooked.
I wanted to drive away from there as fast as I could, like I was running away from something, but I don’t even know what.
I had to stay very focused not to break the speed limit in my haste to escape, and surprised myself with the intensity of my desire.
It wasn’t until I got further out of the hills that I could sense the difference in energy. There’s a kind of bleakness, a sadness, almost a ‘lost’ feeling in the hills. I don’t know what I was picking up, but I think that’s what I was running from.
Maybe many people choose to live in the hills to escape something, but they unwittingly take it with them, and it lives all around.
When I got home, I just wanted to get into the shower as quickly as possible to wash the feeling away, in a kind of “out, damn spot” compulsive fashion.
Spooked, definitely spooked.
And now I’m not so sure about going back into those hills again.
Have I really changed that much in just 4 short months? Maybe.