The Yearbook

Last night I went home to see my friends
The yellowed pages falling out from all
The many years of my neglect
And as I turned each fragile leaf
Another image flashed before my eyes

The photographs held youth inside
With memories, almost like a movie I once saw
The hopes and aspirations of my generation
Expressed in simple words of what might be
And worlds to conquer each in his or her own way

And as I read the names off one by one
An anecdote or two would conjure up inside my mind
Remembrances of teenage things we used to do
For this was not a misspent youth and in many ways
A time when I was surer of myself than I am today

The laughter and the sadness commingled
In the hundred pages that lay upon my lap
For I knew of those who were no longer here
And that time continues on, with every year
A few more going home to rest at last

Five decades plus have passed
Since I last saw my friends
Unattended gatherings come and gone
Too long a time to never know the lives
Of my high school family

For there was a bond broken by my quest
As I sought to forge my own world
And now realities of life, the teacher of us all
Permits a moment of reflection on what might have been
If I had stayed, who would I be?

I gently closed my book of yesterday
And stared into the night
As my tears fell on the floor