There’s losing people to horrid things like death, and events from which they cannot return. And there are friendships that fall apart or are hacked up into tiny bits with a sharp machete. There are people with whom you become geographically incompatible.
What about the people you misplace? Like Julie Christensen. I misplaced her, I think. We became very best friends during Girl Scout camp the summer before my seventh grade year. She was from Bardstown, played the piano and was in her school’s gifted and talented class, which was all deeply interesting to me. She also had incredible asthma that was treated with nightly sessions hooked up to a breathing machine thing that spit out curls of vapor in a most frightening horror-movie way. We wrote for while, I visited her at her home. She was part of my soul tribe.
I don’t remember misplacing her but by high school she was gone. It wasn’t until college when I met a girl Julie had gone to school with who told me Julie’d been in a very bad car accident and though she was still alive, was potentially a parapelgic or something equally devastating. I had no way to contact her and was sure she wouldn’t even remember me anyway.
Friendships like these start with perfect intentions to write, to call, to visit, to share, but then when the effluvia of daily living rubs the new clean off, the odds become steeper and steeper until you can remember him, or her, or them, but only when you’re half paying attention.
I bring this up because these goofy social networking sites we’re all ga ga for are allowing us to replace the misplaced, find the displaced, and decide if we meant what we said when we gushed, “We are going to be best friends forever!” There are a few people I deliberately misplaced. There are some who misplaced me similarly.
Julie, if you’re reading this, I never forgot about you, or your nice family or your feisty dog that got me my first flea bites. There was something of our friendship that meant a lot to me so that whatever little threads bound us together for a year, or two, are still just hanging on, and I’m sorry I misplaced you.