Goodbye Old Friend

September 29th, 2010

I searched for him on Google for years, trying to find out where he was, how he was, what he was doing. I couldn’t find him through the university where he taught, his last known address, the book he’d written. His  name never came up — amazing in an age when the computer knows everything about us. If I typed my name in Google, it would probably tell me what brand of panties I wear and where I buy them. But on him, nothing. Sometimes I dreamed about him, and they were mostly good dreams. We were back together, he loved me, I loved him. Wholeheartedly, unlike our relationship, which was hedged about with reservations, conditions, mysteries, guilt, passion, anger and despair. I thought about him often — how things could have been different if the baby we had together had lived, if he hadn’t had another life with someone else, if I had been less cautious and guarded, if he had been more honest. He was a seven-year ache in my life, and when it was over, I was devastated and relieved and unresolved. So I kept searching for him on the internet. And today I found him, his death a brief mention in his wife’s obituary, but even then, no matter how hard I looked, he was gone without a trace. No date of death, no photo, no clues to where he’s been, what he was doing all these years, where his body lies. Vanished, with just questions left behind. Was our love real or a just a selfish drama or both? Did he ever think of me afterwards? Will we be forgiven for taking what didn’t belong to us and hurting others in the process? What possessed us to become so possessed by each other? After all these years, there are still times when I want to discuss something I’ve read with him, when I suddenly envision the way he held a pen when he was writing, or when I remember the first night we spent together with stomach-wrenching joy. I wonder how someone I loved so ferociously could slip off the planet and not cause a little shiver of acknowledgement down my spine. Deep down, I always thought I’d see him again someday, and now I have to let the forever-unanswered questions go, let them float off this lonely planet along with the ghost of what might have been. To let them rest in peace.

5 Responses to “Goodbye Old Friend”

  1. Oh, this is hitting me from so many directions, and maybe there is a poem in it too.

    This is painful to read precisely because I understand it a bit too well.

  2. Jack says:

    I know this story.

  3. Paula S In New Mexico says:

    Oh….I know this story too. Seems we are all unknowing members of the same club.

  4. you lost a baby. I am so sorry.
    You have good dreams of him. Hang on to that. Taylor Swift: “In dreams, I meet you in warm conversation. We both wake in lonely beds, different cities.” It’s just that your cities are in two different realms. That won’t last forever. He is just down the street in the Astral Realm and you will bump in to each other again. I know because I have experienced it. People who don’t remember don’t get to say that it doesn’t exist.
    But when you do meet, it will be different: without bodies to get excited, there won’t be passion, like how in a dream you kill someone and don’t even break a sweat. And all the things you want to let go of, will stay here on this planet, unable to taint your pure experience.
    If you choose to return, it will all be waiting for you though: the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s the bargain.

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