Saturday, July 7, 2007

Don't look back

While in the middle of a major Google session earlier this past week for work related information, I happened upon a name that stopped me cold in my tracks. A name of an old friend from a decade and a half ago was staring me in the face. After some hemming and hawing on my part I fired off an email and less than 10 minutes later he and I were talking on the phone, laughing it up with a tone of incredulity in our voices. This doesn’t happen often, in my life and probably yours either.

In the middle of this wayback machine trip another name came up, the name of an old flame of mine. The old flame, the one who haunted me for years and whom I had always believed had moved on and probably made a great life for her self, still lives there. What little I was told about her has left me feeling a bit down and conflicted. I moved on, I changed my life for what I know is the better and I think I am a much better man for the changes. That is how life has gone for me over the past 15 years. She, on the other hand, has apparently entered assort of hermetically sealed life. Nothing, it appears, has changed in her life. The same job, the same interests, the same life and no new wrinkles to add color to her life.

I really do not know what to think about this new piece of information. I feel sad for her and a bit guilty for having moved into a different realm of living without her influence. These conflicted emotions have almost overshadowed the possibility of rekindling my old friendship with my old “co-conspirator in crime”, who is still an amazingly fun and interesting person. At some point he is going to break the news to her that he’s been in contact with me, and his delivery was that of absolute boyish glee. I suppose the mystery of whatever became of me has finally been solved, with a happy ending too.

But I now worry about the fallout from this. I’m not concerned about how this will affect my life because I know where I am going. The passage of time and the literal distance of a third of the country separate us, so there are barriers to prevent something stupid from occurring. But I worry about her reaction when she realizes that so much has changed for me and nothing has changed for her. I’m worried that she will not take this well. I just wanted to say hello to an old friend and to be honest, I had assumed more than a decade ago that she had more than likely left for a completely different city. I thought she had probably moved home to Philadelphia. When her name was spoken it was more than a shock, it was an impossibility that had never occurred to me.

We float in and out of each other’s lives and we have a profound effect on each other. I believe in God and the human soul in part because of this effect. Our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Our siblings and our friends and lovers all have a hand in the evolving nature of our lives and we play a part in shaping their lives. For good or bad, empathy, love and searching for answers seem to change with each person’s influence but all these people and events interweave with one another to create the tapestry of our lives. We even have these effects on one another online, with no physical presence being a part of the equation.

So I am left in a strange place right now. Remembering this great love, the one who was unequaled at the time and has been unequaled since, with a sense of sadness for what her life has not become. I even feel a sense of anger that no “good man” has stepped up to the plate and taken her someplace that she really deserved to be in her life. I was a mess when I last saw her and was in no shape to take her on the journey that I have taken. I’m dismayed that she didn’t take the trip herself. In short, I am sure that I’m going to have a lot of old memories and some unresolved issues to consider very soon. The cat is about to get out of the bag and it’s been in there for a long time.

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