Nora Ephron once wrote about the phenomenon of couples "dating" other couples, a twosome with which you found yourself compatible in a sea of potential other suitors where one or the other of the partners gets on your nerves. Once you've landed on the "ones" - you find yourself anxious for their call and ultimately ease into the knowledge that on special occasions - birthdays and holidays - weekend evenings, you were likely to find yourself in one another's company. Rick and Angela were such a couple in our lives, Rick having known Kirk from work long before I was in the picture and the three of them had bonded in a way that my arrival could have altered, but fortunately didn't.
We dined together, danced together, sat together at staff functions and traveled together on weekend getaways, to concerts and once did a more expansive trip together to Montreal.
It was on that trip to Montreal, that the first signs appeared that something was wrong - nothing blatant - just an under-current of something you couldn't quite put your finger on, and while we all loved the city and did the requisite things one does there, little cracks were starting to show. In the midst of it, someone stole my wallet which seemed to be a fitting occurrence given the mood. The two of them had moved back to Winnipeg for work opportunities by that time, with Rick going on ahead and Angela moving in with us for a time while she wrapped up her work in Victoria. While we were gutted to see them go, I think we imagined a long distant version of our friendship filled with visits and occasional adventures - a less frequent but still relevant connection. But not long after they completed the move we were devastated to learn that they were going their separate ways. It is the habit when such things occur that you are tempted to "pick a side" with the party you feel most wounded. Maybe it was because we were so far away or because we knew that both parties in these situations suffer pain, that we retained some kind of co-existence.
Through the magic of social media we could follow the evolution of their separate lives and today can marvel at the fact that Rick is in a loving relationship, with two of the world's most beautiful kids and is obviously the kind of dad that most men couldn't even aspire to be. Angela has found a wonderful partner of her own and her career has taken off - she owns her own business, works incredibly hard, travels and embraces life with gusto - and as much as our history involves the two of them together - we can see how fate has drawn them to places that seem meant to be. I say all of this because this weekend, for the first time in nine years, we received a visit from Angela, with her partner Jim, and we are navigating a new reality with the same love and appreciation for our shared past - but respect for the new reality - the shifting landscape that brought us here. We love - and yes we miss - the couple they were but embrace the new lives they built out of the ashes - the remains of those old days, which seem so very present when we look in one another's eyes.