This is an old post from a different blog, so when I say “the other day” in the first line, I don’t mean yesterday. It actually went down a few months ago.
Why am I reposting it here? Because I decided to do away with the other blog, but first I am going to republish some of the better, more heartfelt articles that were on it. This seemed like a good one to start with.
The other day I had an appointment in downtown Troy at 5:30. Since I get out of work at 4, there really was no point in heading home so I parked my car near the Uncle Sam Atrium and walked around for a while.
It was quite a trip down memory lane. Images came to me from the ancient and more recent past. I walked over to Aquilonia Comics, which I haven’t been inside since I was a senior in high school. (I’m not ashamed to show my age: I graduated in 1994.) Then on the way to my appointment, I walked by the place where a rock club named Positively 4th Street used to be. Memories of playing there weren’t so distant, as the place closed down in the latter half of this decade. My tour also took me past an apartment complex called the Caldwell, which is where my friend Johnny lived when I moved back from Denver; now we are talking 2001/2002. And of course, no stroll of downtown Troy would be complete if I didn’t go by Washington Street and see the apartment building where my friend Margaret used to live.
It’s weird how nostalgia can creep up on you and take hold. I hadn’t thought of Margaret in ages, but any time I go downtown for this appointment, I am immediately transported back to those days. I miss my friendship with Margaret. She and I lost touch when I was a junior in college. It wasn’t until 2009 or 2010 that I thought to look her up on Facebook. In the time between college and the Facebook search, I had thought about her every now and then, wracking my brain in an attempt to think of some way I might be able to relocate her. Facebook came to me in an unexpected flash of brilliance.
Now imagine the context of all this: every now and then, over the last 12-13 years, I have been wondering how and where she was, wishing I could find her. I typed her name into the search engine, and there she was! So I contact her, and she replies. We exchange very long “catch up” messages. Then one day I see her on Facebook chat, and we start talking live. At this point in time, my grandmother was still alive (barely). I was downstairs in my mom’s house chatting with Margaret. The phone rang and it was my grandmother saying she didn’t feel well; she needed me to come upstairs.
I said to Margaret, “I have to go upstairs to take care of grandma. She doesn’t have internet up there, but my phone has free long distance. Can I give you a ring and keep talking?”
To my surprise, this young woman who had been my friend for ages, said, “No, I don’t feel comfortable giving you my number.”
Then she started to type something else, but I let fear take hold of me. I was scared of what she might say, and I didn’t want to read it. So what did I do? Even though she was typing and willing to tell me what exactly made her uncomfortable about giving an old friend her number, I handed her the opportunity to cop out! How? Because, before she could finish what she was typing, I said, “Okay. I will be right back.” Then she erased whatever she had been writing and gave me a simple “okay” as a reply. I went upstairs with grandma. By the time I came back down, Margaret was gone. A few days later, I noticed I was off her friends list. Messages asking why went unanswered.
Talk about anticlimatic! I had wondered on and off over the last decade where she was, what she was up to, and how to contact her. Then I finally find her, and we are no longer friends inside of a month!!! What gives???
I’m still not entirely sure what happened. I remember a long time ago, a friend of mine had told me (when it was too late, of course) that there was a point where Margaret DID have an interest in me romantically. Maybe she thought I was contacting her to make up for a missed chance, even though I told her right in my first message that I was happily married with four kids and still living in upstate New York. (She moved down to NYC. The distance kinda makes an affair impossible, don’t you think?) More recently, someone else pointed out that maybe there was still some attraction on HER end. I find that doubtful, but I guess anything is possible.
Some people might wonder why I would go to the trouble to write this blog about her. Well, it’s because her friendship was very important to me. She was one of only a handful of friends I had in high school. My relationship with all of them was very close, but with her it was even closer. So I decided to write this blog as a way to exorcise myself of the mourning I feel over the fact that we couldn’t just pick up the threads of that friendship. I mean, Facebook was able to help me do that with several other old high school friends who have moved away. I don’t know what backfired with her. At any rate, now that I have written this whole thing out, I have vented enough where this sense of loss will no longer come back to haunt me. Writing has freed me of it.
What would I want Margaret to know if she ever happened to somehow stumble across this blog? First of all, my intention was never to make up for a missed opportunity. Second, I wish there was a way to make you believe that. And third, while I will lament the fact that our friendship couldn’t resume, I won’t let that get in the way of enjoying the times we DID have together.
I hope you’re doing well.