April 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
In my inaugural post I wrote about my childhood friend, Amanda, and how I would probably never see her again. I did not mention, however, that I looked for her often. In fact, I have looked for her ever since I found out about internet. I googled and facebooked and classmated her when I could. Since we met in Atlanta I looked for Amandas there and I found many women with her combination of first and middle name or first and last name and contacted about a dozen over the years, but none were her. I got a few polite responses and couple of well-wishers but mostly they did not answer and I was left with the feeling that maybe I had found her and she did not remember me, or just did want to be my friend anymore (or again).
And then, last week, surrounded by the boxes and mess that come with every move, I decided to look for her on Linkedin, only this time I tried her middle name because I remembered it was her mother’s maiden name, and I did not filter the city. I found one in Memphis and wrote my standard “Is it you?” message, with the watered-down feeling of hope and dread. And then I forgot about the whole thing.
Until she answered back. It was Amanda, my Amanda, my friend who had played with me during recess for all of fourth grade and some of fifth, my friend who wasted a box of sidewalk chalk with me decorating her driveway. Every day she would cross the creek that separated our houses so we could ride the bus to school (the bus that stopped on her street was a different one) and often she would come early and my mother would force-feed her some arepa (she told us once that she only had a diet coke for breakfast). We slept over at each others’ houses and shared our diaries and liked the same boys (we would like one she liked one month and then change to one I liked the next month). She was very special to me and I both longed and feared finding her.
I wrote to her email and waited and waited and it took forever for her to write back (like 4 days, which in email time is like a month) and I figured she just was not interested. When I finally got a message, my fears melted instantly. I was crying by the end of the first paragraph.
Immediately I was struck by the similarities in our lives. This is a girl I have not seen since I was 9 and had no contact with since I was 13. But she is also a photographer, got married 4 days before I did on the same year as I did and had a son born mere weeks before mine. We share a many of the same views and values. She is also moving, and for the same reasons (crappy landlord, bigger yard) Our lives have taken us down such different paths that I am in awe that now, after 25 years, we are so in synch.
Were we always this similar? Did I have really good taste in friends a quarter of a century ago? Did that friendship mean so much to both of us as to shape our futures?I don’t know. And right now, I really don’t care, because I still have about 6 unpacked boxes from my 27th move. I have lived in 27 homes spread out over 6 cities and 2 countries in my 35 years and having found a piece of my past while packing up my present seems like a nice way for the Universe to balance itself out.
I will surely post about this later. For now, he is a picture she sent me of us sharing a heart-shaped locket (the kind you break in half so each person gets one. I lost my half in one of my earlier 26 moves but she still has hers).