Subject: Hey buddy!
It’s been a week since it happened, but I am still shaking after saving your life! Thank you, Dr. Heimlich, right? And how lucky are you that I came to the reunion at all, which I wasn’t planning to do, except for two things — seeing my old freshman roomie (you), and the fact that the 15th reunion is notorious for insane hookups with hot former classmates (e.g. Sarah Young) who are staring at the big four-oh, wondering if they were too hasty when it came to certain life decisions (e.g. marrying Doug Gendler).
But I guess that’s probably truer at your 20th reunion because it turns out Sarah Young is still pretty satisfied with her life (Senior Partner) and somehow still devoted to that ape Gendler (I thought rich people were supposed to be smart), and didn’t seem to notice me even now. Which is kind of strange, don’t you think? It’s not like I don’t stand out — 6’6, 172 lbs, obviously still blessed with that hummingbird metabolism that so many women envy. Remember the protein powders and weight-gain shakes I was medically addicted to Freshman year? Why was I fighting this gift? My slender arms have come to the rescue more than once when a tasty co-worker’s Sun Chips have gotten stuck in the breakroom vending machine.
Didn’t you think it was hilarious how we ran into each other at the reunion? Me, holding a tray, just like 20 years ago, and you, buried in your phone — just like back when you’d have the newspaper or a book or a table tent right in front of your face. It reminded me of that first time I came over when you were eating by yourself and you said, “Go away, Brian.” That’s when I knew we were going to have a giving-each-other-shit cool friendship, like you see in a beer commercial. And when I came over to your table at the reunion and you said, “Oh, no. I should’ve known,” that vibe started again. Who would have thought that moments later I’d be locked in a struggle to save your life?
To be frank, Glenn, it took me a little while to see that you were even choking, because I was giving you the 411 about what was up with ol’ Bri, while kind of keeping an eye out for Sarah. But at some point there, I sensed a change in your normal companionable silence, and that’s when I saw you’d turned blue.
After the initial moments of panic, my training and instinct kicked in and I got the job done. Actually, I should say “we” got the job done. I mean, you felt it too, right? God, it’s been months, maybe longer, since I’ve wrapped my arms around another human. But when I was holding you, pulling you close against me, thumping my fists against your sternum in front of everyone and yelling, “Choose life!” — well, that old connection came back strong. That’s friendship, Glenn, and no amount of time or distance can change it.
In fact, saving you was a gift — it made me think, what if it had been me? What if I had choked to death on a piece of reunion breakfast sausage? I know you’d have been the first in line to save me (although if Sarah Young had come over, I would’ve tried to signal you to stand aside!), but still, it makes you think, doesn’t it?
Therefore I have decided to choose life myself, and focus on the things that really matter. And that means
• writing my screenplay — I can’t wait for you to read it!
• making a run at this woman at work named Nicole, who I call my “work wife” even though she’s just in an office in my building and not actually working in the same office or business as me, and
• staying in touch with the people most important to me. Guess what? You made the list. I am going to push this friendship to the max, and that is a promise.
I love you man! Feel better, and write back ASAP.
Brian, AKA The Bri.
P.S. Sorry to hear of your divorce! I don’t remember Jane as being one of the great beauties in the class, but some people take time to blossom, and anyway, what does it matter so long as you guys love each other? Which you did at one time, but no more. You wouldn’t mind shooting me her email, would you? I’d love to just drop her a line.