Yes. I got on Facebook. Okay, actually this is the second time I’ve had a profile. The first time I was on for all of 8 hours. I might have had some sort of panic attack and deactivated it. I can’t remember.
But, yes, I am back on it. I got guilted into it by a few friends who were touting how fun! and exciting! It was to reconnect with people. And now I get tackled with nostalgia every time I open my inbox.
And it is fun. It is. It’s amazing to see who is doing what with whom and where. It’s fun to see who has grown up, who has come out, who has led, who has followed, and who has jobs that are truly enviable.
But for all the laughs that come with the remember whens, there are things that break my heart. The girl with devastating breast cancer. The guy who died last year. The friend who is now a widow at the age of 37.
And it doesn’t matter that it’s been 15 or 20 years. In that instant my head and heart feel like we’re back on campus and I hurt for my old friend like not a day has passed, when, clearly, so many have.
I’ve been thinking that this notion of time is interesting. It is impossible to catch someone up on the past 15 or 20 years of your life. All that remain are the residual feelings – and that’s where you pick up. Except in the most extreme instances, who can remember why someone lost touch or why you might have stopped talking?
In catching up with some old friends it has become very clear that my memory has big holes. But my heart remembers almost all of it. I couldn’t tell you the address of my sorority house, the details of a party, why we broke up or even whether I made a trip to visit someone. I have photographs in my mind, little tiny treasures of moments that flash when I think of someone, but the whole story isn’t there any longer. At least not the narrative.
But I can tell you how I felt about that person. I can almost in some cases physically remember and feel the bond of friendship or respect or love that was there. And more often than not it is both astounding and reassuring.
So maybe that’s how we pick up where we left off. Old friends tempered by time and circumstance. A little awkward, but always warm. And sometimes through tears.