The meeting of a long but not forgotten friend can make you feel so excited you can't keep a smile off your face. The short story by John Cheever "reunion" is about a son meeting his father for the first time in 3 years. The shortcomings of a person having preconceived notions of how a person has evolved can be traumatic. I too had a similar situation with an old friend from high school just recently.
In the story Charlie looked so forward to seeing his father that he wrote to him asking to visit in a very short window of time of 11/2 hour during a layover. He received his response back from his father's secretary, not his father. Although I have never been blown off that bad I could see Charlie's face drooping as he read the note. When Charlie saw his father walking towards him he felt excited again to be meeting his father, at last the father he only has memories of to prove his good thoughts about him are true. He was so proud he wanted someone to take their picture. I had a phone message at work from a girl I grew up with; we were buddies and pals from 7th grade all the way through graduation. We certainly ran with a different crowd, but that never came between us, we were brother and sister. Just not by blood. The adrenalin raced through me as I picked up the phone to dial, images of the levelheaded preppy filled my thoughts.
As the author points out from the start the father smelled of whiskey, then at the restaurant is very load, boisterous and even asked to leave the first restaurant. Clearly this is not the man Charlie had envisioned. This man is either already drunk or so wanting to over impress his son he is making a fool of himself. As with my encounter, we agreed I would pick her up and go to dinner, I was semi shocked to see 4 empty beer cans on a Thursday evening (6:00pm). She was very loud but still sweet, I figured since she didn't have to work in the morning no problem, but I did.
When Charlie and his father made it to the second restaurant it had appeared his father might have learned his lesson from the first time around. They had some small talk about sports and I'm sure Charlie was...