Today marked another rare time when the wheel came 'round again. One night back in 1987 found me sitting on the floor of my dorm room, flipping through the Northwestern course catalog, trying to find an elective to fill the spring quarter schedule. Take Mark's class, said the then-boyfriend, because he's pretty cool. Sure, fine, whatever, need the credit. I don't remember what it was called, but it was the first archaeology class I had ever taken. I do remember the first day Mark walked through the classroom door with his leather jacket and sunburned face, freshly back from Peru, and that I wondered if he was the prof or just the TA.
That class led to another, and another, and eventually to me declaring anthropology as a double major. I spent two summers working on Mark's project in Peru, became friends with him and his wife, and went to grad school on his recommendation. He moved on to a west coast school and I landed here in Tucson, so we saw each other at conferences a few times over the years and then not at all when I quit attending the annual archaeology meetings.
This morning we met for coffee for the first time since '99. I guess I had always expected to see him again somewhere, but I didn't antipate that we'd be sitting in a Tucson coffeehouse with our respective houses sitting maybe five miles apart. Despite the great tendency of people and places to change dramatically when you take your eyes off of them for more than a minute, talking to him was the same as it ever was, refreshingly comfortable.
I walked back to my parking space happy. There was also the added bonus of a dinner invitation and a handful of 30,000-year-old Tibetan artifacts in my messenger bag that I get to illustrate for him (which will be attached to a decent paycheck). After a year in which old friends were lost, reconnecting with this one simply kicked ass. Maybe you can't go home again, but sometimes you're fortunate to have a little piece of home come back to you.