Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Story of Memory

It's funny how memory works. How something can be so clear and vivid for one person and for another who was there at the same place and time, it can fade, fuzz, or simply vanish.

When Facebook was still a new thing - a thing not everybody and their great-grandmother used to share recipes, political memes, and pictures of cats, a thing that was newly opened to everyone outside of the college email address domain - I joined up and started searching for people I remembered. At that point, not everyone was there (I suspect now that almost everyone is there, but I've changed how I use Facebook as well). But one of the names I searched for came up immediately.

She was my friend when we were about 5-8, I think. Maybe a bit younger. My own memory is out of focus, but she is clear. She lived a short while away from me and we played together often. We had the tormenting friendship of little girls. I remember so much of it because for whatever reason it made a strong impression on me. The time she couldn't come to my birthday party and then showed me the gift her mom made for me but let her keep. The time her dad helped me ride a bike. The time she and another friend ganged up on me and accused me of something impossible. The time her mom taught me paper crafting.

One day she told me she was moving. Moving to a city that is, in reality, not that far from where we lived but that seemed a million miles away. The years before the Internet, before an easy way to at least feel that you are in touch with someone simply by clicking "friend" and then occasionally glancing at a screen, when someone moved away that someone was gone forever. I imagined her in a shiny golden palace, in a giant city far away, growing and thriving. I never forgot her.

Well, apparently she forgot me.

At the time, when you made a friend request, you could also send a message at the same time (I think it may have even been mandatory - or at least hard to skip). So I did and I excitedly said something like I found you! How are you! It's me! From that hometown a million years ago! Hello!

Her reply was cold and distant. Did I know you from church? I don't really remember.

I'm Jewish....

No, I said, it's ME! Me from these adventures! ME! Your dear friend from all those years ago! Do you remember this story?

And she never replied to me again.

Memory is fuzzy, vanishes, is replaced by more important stories that happen when you move away and leave behind your childhood. My story was not her story. I had to let her go.
An experimental post that may be tweaked and updated over time.

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