A fringe benefit of the power of social media is how it permeates the fabric of our world. Ever since I began this blog in June 2012, I have had a relative in Italy whom I had not seen in years contact me; a former French graduate school colleague who lives in France asked if I were this person [she introduced me to Gitanes, upon which I nearly choked to death], and several other with whom I had lost touch.
However, last weekend, a reader left me a comment inquiring if I was indeed her former undergraduate college roommate, the one who was a bridesmaid in her wedding. Those who know me well know that I am rarely speechless, but when Jackie contacted me, I was at a loss for words. Fast and furiously we sent messages back and forth. We had over 30 years of our lives to share with each other. We agreed to talk via phone on Thursday evening at a well-appointed hour.
Three-and-a-half hours later that night, we still had not caught up completely. Next week we will converse again. We have plans to meet face to face after we scrutinize our work and family schedules. For the past days, I have been euphoric about our social media and phone reunion, for we had great times together in college. Although she pursued health sciences, and I English and later music, our personalities and sense of humor meshed. As the years rolled by, I wondered off and on about Jackie. I thought of her living in Lexington, Kentucky, in the fabled Blue Grass state. She now is back home again in Indiana. Searches for me were in vain. For years I had carried a 15-letter married surname; I legally reclaimed my name several years ago. And so it went as we canvassed the landscapes of our lives since the late 1970’s. Jackie would not have known that about me.
Once we commenced talking, the years melted away. She was Jackie: Spirited, funny, compassionate, and brilliant. Her overriding question was, “How did we ever lose touch with one another?” I think I have the answer: Our lives at some point did not diverge; rather they digressed. She had married and started a family. I returned to the university to pursue a music degree, travel back and forth to Europe, earn a graduate degree, and relocate for years to Houston.
In retrospect, I was careless about our friendship what with my hop, skip, and jump lifestyle. I thought about other friendships that have fallen by the wayside over the years. Some friendships simply ran their course; others were consumed by complicated lives. However, I have been given a tremendous gift through this blog: The gift of renewing a cherished friendship with Jackie.
I have learned to mend my errant friendship ways.
Ciao for now.