faced

Back in July my friend sent me a link / invitation to join Facebook. So I set up a basic profile and left it at that. Other than the four or five people who have send friend requests based on the fact (I assume) that we have the same last name (BG's last name... and I can count on two hands the number of people I actually know with his last name), it's been quiet over there. So quiet I couldn't remember if I already had an account when my sister sent me a similar link/invitation to join. Then, yesterday, out of the clear blue I got a friend request from someone who actually knew me way back when. Which totally got me thinking about way back when and all the people I've lost contact with. And that led to thoughts about one particular set of friends and then one particular event and eventually to one particular person. Who, it turns out, also has a Facebook profile.

There's a fair amount of background surrounding that particular person and I've started no less than 17 drafts covering all the details. Maybe someday I'll have coaxed my memories into readable form and actually post it. But for this post, a summary will do: I had a mad crush on him for two years (read: an eternity in high school). Our friendship was generally an easy one, but wanting more than friendship led me to act like an idiot more than once, culminating in The Prom Incident, the aftermath of which was as close to social hell as I ever care to get. People got hurt, blame was cast, and, at least in my memory, I was the pariah of the the final two (three?) weeks of school. My family moved that summer, but he and I stayed in touch through letters and the occasional card. For how long, I'm not sure.

I came across a notebook filled with letters and notes and other high-school paraphernalia while at my parents house this summer. Amongst the back-and-forth notes, birthday cards, and badly posed pictures, I found his final letter to me; a letter filled with hurt, disappointment, anger, and confusion.

I have revisited The Prom Incident many times over the years -- it is, undoubtedly, the chapter of my life of which I am most ashamed. Usually, though, all the uncomfortable feelings can be assuaged with a carefully timed piece of chocolate (read: hormonal much?). There are those times when Uncle Hershey doesn't do the trick, though, and I carefully go over each and every detail, examining where I was wrong and where I was wronged. My own little pity party, attendance:1. A party that ends somewhere around 2am with the sweeping decision to get up the next morning, find all those people involved, make amends, and spend the rest of our days holding hands around the campfire singing Kumbaya. That determination generally stays strong through a couple of Google-ing attempts, occasionally right through lunch time. But by mid afternoon I've convinced myself that I've fallen victim to hormones/poor sleep/poor diet/the cross eyed look that the checker at the grocery store gave me yesterday morning and that what I really need to do is get over myself already and get the floors scrubbed. It was high school for crissake. Everyone is stupid in high school and everyone else has probably already moved on. And then I'm good for the next 26-27 days or so.

And then I found this letter and it all came flooding back to me again. Only this time my memories didn't end with the school year or the relief I felt when my parents announced we were moving so I wouldn't have to look at all those people after summer break and wonder how many of them were still whispering behind their hands. Narcissistic much? You betcha. Aren't most 17-year-olds? No, this time the credits didn't roll until after I had received a most heart-felt missive from him, responded, and then received this, his final letter to me.

Rereading his letter, I cringed. The real shame of that chapter of my life was not the self-serving acts of a teenage girl, but rather that I so easily dismissed a friendship over a set of values that I wasn't yet mature enough to truly claim as my own. Values that, as I aged and (hopefully) matured, I discovered weren't my own. Rereading his letter, I wept. Quietly, inwardly I mourned. The senseless loss.

Returning home, I started my quest to find him anew. Not knowing what I would say if I ever found him, but determined to do what I could to, well, I wasn't sure what. Apologize at the very least. And now, quite by coincidence, I've got a viable way to contact him. Viable, but maybe not practical. A friend request seems premature -- real or imagined in my mind only, there are still broken fences to mend before I could easily suggest that we reminisce. Does Facebook have an "I'm sorry I was such an immature, hate-spouting, judgemental, closed minded, unsupportive, uninformed, homophobic bitch back when you most needed the love and support of your friends" nudge? 'Cause that'd be a step in the right direction.


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2 comments:

Amy Jo said...

It can't hurt to at least give him a nudge...it's a tough call. I think you have to go with your gut on this one! Good luck!

SirvonRohr said...

Hey Stacy and I just talked with my best friend from high school....I had not talked to him in 14 years. Mainly cause I am an ass. Less than 2 minutes after while seeing his two kids and wife I was happy I made the effort to find him, thank you internet...., but every situation is different. I was also sad that I had not made the effort sooner.

R