There's a scene in the 1983 version of The Three Musketeers when D'Artagnan's father gives him advice about moving to the big city of Paris. "I know," says D'Artagnan. "Don't get into trouble."
"No, Get into trouble," his father tells him, and in that line there is the hint of what we all know to be true: that youth is for experience, for living, for throwing caution to the winds and enjoying ourselves.
I've been thinking about that recently, in part because the kids downloaded a song from the new The Three Musketeers called, appropriately, When We Were Young, and in part because whenever July 16th approaches, I find myself thinking back to a time 20 years ago.
Today would have been Carla's birthday, and while I don't want to come across as morbid or morose, I still miss her. And I think some of that is because she is one of the few people who knew me when I was in my early 20's, one of the few who might remember those years the same way I do.
Tonight....we are young
So we'll set the world on fire
We can grow brighter
Than the sun
Being young is about setting the world on fire. We didn't know that song, but if we had, would have sang it. For us that fire came from late nights at the Lower Deck; watching the sun set over Chocolate Lake; Saturday motor trips up to Harmony Lake stopping to pick lupins by the armful from Nova Scotia ditches. It came from ferrying across the harbour; big bottles of wine; feeding the swans at the Public Gardens while the brass band played. From navy friends new and old; from stolen bicycles; and stifling hot evenings on Carla's Creighton Street balcony in the bad end of town. From Friday nights at Weepers, Saturdays at Peddlars, and any nights we could at O'Carrolls Pub; from evenings of jazz and cheesecake, concerts, movies at the Wormwood. And though Carla and I never got into brawls or did anything too crazy, I'd like to think those years were enough for Carla.
Because as it turned out, they were all she got.
Note: A big and heartfelt thank you to those friends of mine - many of whom also knew me 20 years ago - who, after reading this post, came out of the woodwork and sent emails, tweets and comments filled with sympathy and reassurances. You ladies (and gents) rock and I'm glad you were part of my life then and now.