One of the side effects of going to a funeral is that you have to see people you have not seen in a very long time. Sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes not such a good thing. In the case of my grandmothers funeral I was mostly seeing people that were in my church growing up and only really remember me as a little girl in ruffly dresses.
I really can't say I had much to say to them any more than they had anything to say to me. The conversation for the most part was kept to condolences and very polite mundane chit chat. This was probably for the best on multiple levels. For one thing it was a funeral and I have never really been clear on what is appropriate conversation for such an event. I mean you want to catch up, but at what point has this suddenly become inappropriately social?
Also there is the general fact that my grandmothers church friends probably would not take well to who I grew up to be. I am not that little girl who helped the ushers, worked in the church nursery and kitchen, helped run childrens church, and was an acolyte. I doubt I turned out anything like they expected or find acceptable. My not being Christian alone would freak them right the hell out and they would never even get to my weird hippy liberal hobbies and lifestyle.*
After I got home I started thinking about the people I used to know. Not necessarily these women from church when I was little, but more so of people who actually mattered to me. My friends from high school and even from college. People who meant the world to me that now I barely know anything about.
I wonder am I the person they remember or thought I would be today? Or would I be to them like I am to those church ladies; some sort of unrecognizable stranger. The same goes for them. Are they who I remember? Are they who I thought they would be or have they grown and changed so much we wouldn't know what to do if plopped in front of one another.
So of course I did what any normal person of this time would do; I facebook stalked some former friends. Now its true that I already have basically been doing this with a number of people. I have them friended, I watch their updates, wish them a happy birthday, and am basically a voyeur in their lives. That doesn't really make us friends though.
There was one guy though that I have been thinking about for years. No not like that! There was never anything even remotely romantic between us. I simply never thought of him that way. For one thing he was younger than me, back in high school when such things mattered, and for another I always saw him sort of like a little brother or even like, contain your shock, my kid. Plus I was a stupid teenage girl and was totally obsessed with any number of other guys during that time.
Looking back on it I think we were pretty close back then. I can remember at the theater banquet during my senior year, at the end when we had done a final good show circle**, we broke off and he was the first person I hugged. I was of course sobbing and so was he. I remember how tight we hugged each other and how it lasted so long. I know it was not just in my mind because there were other people waiting to hug me and they started to look awkward like maybe they were seeing something that they shouldn't see.
It wasn't like that was the last day I would ever see him. We had at least a week of school left plus we were both going on the theater trip to New York that summer and would be spending over a week together there. Still I think both of us knew that this was it. After school ended and after the trip we would probably never see each other again. It allowed us to enjoy the last few weeks because we had already said goodbye.
Of course that was a logical thought. It was before Facebook or MySpace or anything else. I was all internet crazy already, but he wasn't. There was no real way for us to keep up with me in college far from home. And we didn't.
I am pretty sure I haven't seen him since we got back from that trip to New York. When our high school director died a few years later he couldn't come back for the funeral, so I didn't even get to see him then. I have tried over the last few years to track him down on MySpace and then Facebook, but never could seem to find him. It was like he was resisting the social media age with all of his might.
So having been thinking about him again I tried one last time. Searching his name did not immediately yield any results as his name is pretty common. He had a brother with a less common name though, so I searched for him. Low and behold there was his brother. The beauty of friends lists soon led me to what I was looking for. Him.
Now it seems I was right. His profile was sparse and his wall was empty. It looks like in the two years he has had the account he has done little more than making the account. Still it is there. I took a chance and sent him a friends request.
I am not sure I will get a response or even if I want to. I have no idea what to expect from him. I know he probably isn't that kid I loved so much all those years ago, but I can't believe that he is totally gone. I don't even know if he wants to dredge me up again.
If he responds that would be great. It would be nice to catch up and get to know him again. If not then that will be fine as well. We said goodbye that night after the good show circle, and sometimes being able to say goodbye really is enough.
* I wouldn't actually call myself a hippy or a liberal, but these women certainly would.
** We had a tradition of doing a good show circle before every show, and then one last one at the end of year banquet. It gave everyone the opportunity to make a goodbye speech if they wanted. Very emotional.