I just spent a week catching up with my best friend from middle school. Oh, he might not know he was my best friend, but he very much was.
While he was here I took a little spin on the Facebook search page and did something I’d never once had the urge to do before. I checked out all the people we’d known in school. Is that odd, that I never once looked them up? Is it even weirder that before he showed up on my doorstop I’d forgotten most of their names?
There are three people I remember clearly from those not so pleasant days. One I’ve been in touch with regularly since she left. One I’ve been in touch sporadically over the years. And one I lost touch with the day High School ended.
The others are for the most part forgotten. Willfully? Accidentally? Does it matter? They are a haze in a haze.
I scrolled through the list of their contacts and names jumped out at me, grabbing me, forcing me to stare unwanted memories in the face. I reluctantly clicked on one or two names, wondering what they were up to these days. I hastily clicked away from people upon learning that they lived here, right here, in the Bay Area, a million miles away from home. Now I glance around me in the street wondering if they are somewhere near. Wondering if they’ve changed any. Wondering if I care.
While I was torturing myself I pushed a little further and checked on my first boyfriend. (I’d write first love, because it was true, but I hate to attribute such power to such a lowlife.) Word of advice – Don’t do that. Ever. Nothing good comes of it. Trust me. If he’s hot now, who cares? And if he’s as unattractive it doesn’t change anything either. Just one more picture to haunt you at night.
And then, because clearly I wasn’t tormented enough, I picked at my favorite scab. The friend who vanished the day after High School? Could I find her? Was she lurking in the hidden pages of Facebook?
I tried to find her for years. I knew her alma mater and found her email. I agonized over an email for months and when I finally sent it it boomeranged back “address unknown.” I filed it as a lost cause and tried to move on. But losing a friend hurts, and losing a best friend hurts more, especially if you never knew what you did to cause the rift.
Hindsight might be 20/20, but I’m no Sherlock Holmes and I’m missing too many clues to truly know where I went wrong. Today I can only assume that the lowlife boyfriend was the cause, but again, that might be granting him too much power.
I didn’t find her on Facebook. I found her on LinkedIn. And I emailed her, not the agonised missive about lost friendship, just a quick “You live here! In my backyard! Minutes away from where I life. Wow. Can we talk?”
Today she wrote back. Like a hand reaching through time. She sent a picture and her familiar face smiled at me through the screen. I looked at her and thought “I’ve missed you so much. I’m so sorry I screwed up. Can we please be friends again?” The apology is 15 years late. I still don’t know what I did. But I am grateful for the chance to try again.