Brian Cennamo’s Wedding

John Ballerini, left, and Brian Cennamo, circa early 1980s.

John Ballerini, left, and Brian Cennamo, circa early 1980s.

Back when I was a kid, growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, N.Y., one of the regular kids in my life was Brian Cennamo.

Brian lived, oh, a mile away, in a brown house on Union Valley Road. We’d play tackle football in his backyard, trick or trick at his front door, pretend to be different WWF wrestlers, etc, etc. Though Brian wasn’t my closest friend, he was one of those guys I grew up with; a nice disposition; a constant presence.

Like most folks from youth, Brian and I haven’t kept up. He went his way, I went mine. Geography, colleges, careers, etc. I saw him three years ago at the ol’ 20-year reunion, but only briefly. Then tonight, while scanning Facebook, I noticed that—in July—Brian got married.

I stared at the photos. Stared and stared and stared and stared. I stared the way we never admit to staring; gawking, gazing. The man before me—tuxedo-clad, smiling—wasn’t the Brian Cennamo of my youth. He was an adult. A touch of gray in his hair. Adult life, adult concerns. It’s the thing that, quite often, blows my mind about Facebook rediscoveries. The way, with a blink, people change and transform and develop. I recall, vividly, Brian the boy being, well, Brian the boy. It seems like yesterday in myriad ways. And, if not yesterday, than 10 years ago.

Alas, we graduated college more than two decades back. We are adults with bad backs and mortgages and aging parents and concerns that scale far beyond backyard football and Hulk Hogan.

Somehow, Brian Cennamo’s wedding makes me happy.

Somehow, Brian Cennamo’s wedding makes me quite sad, too.

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