Wait. The little kid from next door is getting married? WHAT?

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Steve and Emily.

Quick story: Back when I was in early high school, my neighbor and close pal moved from New York to North Carolina. I was not happy. Gary and I grew up together. Sleepovers. Driveway hoops. Sledding down Emerald Lane. On and on. Our boyhoods are intertwined, and he remains one of my best friends.

Anyhow, when the Millers left a new family moved in—the Strafaces. They were a couple with three kids. Two boys and a little girl. And while it was cool having new neighbors, it wasn’t quite the same. The boys—Steve and Paul—were much younger, and Pam (the daughter) was teeny tiny. It was sorta Hi and Bye and Hey and … yeah.

As time passed, however, I really came to enjoy the family and, in particular, Steve and Paul. When I’d come home from college they’d always be lingering in their driveway, often on a bike or scooter of some sort. I’d come over, chase them around the house, talk Yankees and Jets. It was fun, and seeing them get bigger and bigger was a pretty entertaining thing. These were good kids.

I digress.

Two minutes ago, while checking Facebook, I saw that Steve is engaged to be married. And I thought, “Wait. What?” Wasn’t he 10 yesterday, dashing through the ditch in a game of tag? Wasn’t he just asking me what I thought about Kevin Maas? And Pat Kelly? Doesn’t he need to catch the bus to Lakeview Elementary?

Time is a trippy thing. It really is. The days crawl. The years fly. You’re young, blink, you’re old. You grow used to certain things, then those certain things land atop their head. It’s a constant upheaval of names, dates, faces. A swirling of life that’s both reassuring and devastating. Hell, as I write this my daughter is learning to drive. When did that happen? How did that happen?

Steve Straface is engaged.

I’m thrilled for him.

And, oddly, a bit sad for lost youth.