One of my friends moved out to California while I was still in college. He had followed his girlfriend and child out there and has been there ever since, living in the Bay Area. He was one of my groomsmen in my wedding and that night was actually the last time I'd seen him. That's right, I hadn't seen him for nearly 6 years.
He came back to Georgia this weekend for his first visit in nearly four years (the last time he came was for a funeral and I was living in the opposite side of the state at the time and didn't get to see him.) Hank and I managed to set up an evening where all of our group of friends from high school came to my house for dinner, a few beers, and playing with the Wii (and Gamecube). Of our group only I and one of the Justins still live here (both of us having returned from up north within the past two years). Jessica came down from Carrollton, Hank and April from Athens and Alisa from Alabama. Still, it's weird that after ten years since we last spent time together on a regular basis that we'd actually still get along so well. I had a great time tonight and most of it involved sitting around the dining room table and talking about nothing at all except stories most of us already knew because we were all there when they happened.
It's nice that I actually have two groups of friends that I'm close to as I still keep in close touch with most of my college friends as well. It's kind of a shame that neither of the groups is very concentrated in area anymore, but it seems like growing up kind of involves a gradual end to close friendships and the cessation of making new close friendships. I haven't made a close friend since I left college. I've met people I like and hang out with occassionally, but it doesn't seem to be the same depth of friendship as I have and had with the people I met during my education years. I consider myself lucky to still be able to call the friends I made in 4th-grade through sophomore year of college good friends. Not a whole lot of people can say they're still in regular touch with friends they made that long.
And if you're confused by today's title, it's because 1998 is the year I graduated high school. I'm perfectly aware that Prince was singing about the next year.