This weekend sent my mind into a whirlwind of both fond memories and melancholy. Twenty years ago, Los Angeles held it's breath bracing for riots, dissent and hostility to bubble up. Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of one of the most infamous days in our history. It was the day O.J. Simpson was set free thanks to a "legal system," not a "justice system."
All weekend my stomach was in knots as swirling memories flowed back into my consciousness. I feel a surge of stress hormones coursing through my body and my heart pounds faster as I recall these events. It was awful. But far worse for those of us living in L.A. And way way way worse for those of us who knew the victims of the heinous crime.
I was friends with Ron Goldman when the murder occurred. I had just gone through the first major break up of my adult life. One day I found myself alone ordering a coffee at Starbucks in Brentwood. I remember wearing a cute skirt and lace up booties. It was a nice, early spring day. As I walked out the door, two guys were sitting at a table and one of them asked if I'd like to sit with them. They were good looking and around my age, so I smiled and said, "okay." The guy who asked, introduced himself as Ron. When we parted, he said they were having a party, and would I like to come. I needed new friends because of the break up, so I said yes.
From there a very fun season began. His friends accepted me into their circle and I got quite close with two of the girls I met at that party. One of who was Ron's big crush. A model from Canada who had a boyfriend back home - a pro hockey player. Ron was not having an affair with Nicole.
Many nights began at Mezzaluna where Ron worked. We'd meet before the end of his shift, have a drink and then go dancing. Ron was also dabbling in club promoting, so we got in free wherever he was hooked up. The Century Club was one of the best spots back then.
When there were no big plans, we'd meet at someone's house and play "Truth or Dare." One night Ron took my dare and had to wear diapers, stand on the balcony and yell out whatever I said. Somewhere video exists of this: Ron in diapers, and a Kongol hat, screaming, "I love Gorbachev... in Brentwood." Gorbachev was big news at the time. I laughed so hard, I couldn't breathe and my stomach ached. I saw that video on news footage b-roll over and over again.
Anyway, it was a season of pure fun thanks to the day Ron invited me to sit down and join him and his friend for coffee. He was kind, good-natured, good-looking, funny and fun loving.
One evening I was teaching at the gym and heard my pager blowing up. (Pagers, remember?) The messages from my new girlfriends were panicked. Something was terribly wrong. The murder just happened. The male was not identified yet. We actually thought it was one of the other guys who was more outwardly flirtatious and more likely to be having an affair with Nicole. But then a few hours later the heartbreaking news came out. We had plans to go to the movies the next night.
The summer fun ended. Statements to police began. I attended the gut wrenching funeral with at least another hundred shocked people. And then watched the trial on TV with the rest of the world.
I'm reminded of the popular poem by an unknown author, "People Come Into Your Life for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime." In this case, the second passage couldn't be more appropriate:
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do with that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty...
To provide you with guidance and support...
To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually...
They may seem like they are a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die...
Sometimes they walk away...
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand....
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled...
Their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has now been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON.
Because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons.
Things you must build upon to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.
Thank you for being a part of my life...
Whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime
~ Unknown author
If you have friends that made an impact in your life, however brief, find a way to let them know somehow.