October 19, 2005

Strange things…

Have you ever joined a Web site like Reunion.com? You can search for, and sometimes find, people you knew in college or high school. Some times this is a good thing, other times it just brings flashbacks to preferably-forgotten memories.

When I was in middle school, I met a wonderful person who lived across the street from me. We met on track team in the fall of our eighth grade. We had the same running pace, so of course we became best friends. At the end of track season, my family moved from Northern Virginia to southern Maryland. My Dad still lived in Virginia, and every now and then I would make arrangements to catch a ride down to see my friend. She introduced me to Tears for Fears, showed me how to put makeup on, and shared scary ghost stories.

Through all of high school, we remained close friends, even when my family moved to Tennessee. She was my buddy who has always had a fond place in my heart. After high school, she joined the service and was stationed in Memphis. I received a letter from her with a note that she was engaged and would I come out for her wedding? And I did. That was the spring of my sophomore year in college. It was the last time I saw her. She wrote me a letter after her note thanking me and talking about how things were.

I’ve never been good with correspondences. I’ve always been slow to write letters. I could kick myself for being slow this time. It took me almost three weeks to write a letter in response to her. I had it sitting in my car to mail on my way to school when I got another letter from her. She said she didn’t know why she hadn’t heard from me and she assumed that I must be angry at her. I stopped the car and cried. I knew she would be shipping out soon — probably before any letter I could send would reach her. I knew where she was going to be stationed in California, but I didn’t know where and quickly discovered that there are a lot of people with her name.

Over the years I have tried to find her. I spent one evening with an online phone book for various towns in California calling anyone who had her first name or her husbands first name. I must have called fifty people, and never found my buddy. I’ve tried doing Internet searches, whowhere, online address books. No reliable results.

Until today. I logged on to Reunion.com and just for kicks did a search for her name again. For the first time, there she was: her name, age, and town in California. Same married name.

In some respects, Reunion.com is evil. You can not send a message nor see a picture unless you join the sight. Their marketing strategy was successful on one more sucker tonight because I signed up for one year just to be able to message her. Heck, I don’t know if she can recieve the email I sent if she isn’t a site subscriber. I had to take the chance.

I’m nervous about getting a message from her. I hope she isn’t angry with me. I hope she doesn’t think I’m some twirp for never mailing her back when I was too heartbroken over things that were going on in my angst-ridden college life to write back to the one person who had always been there for me. It is something I have always (and will always) regret.

She was the one person who helped me make sense out of high school and middle school.

I really hope I hear from her.

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