Thursday, July 21, 2011

Don't Stop Believin'

For the past 14 years, I have been out of touch with an old friend from childhood. When she moved away, we used to write letters and send postcards back and forth. We weren't lucky to have Facebook or texting, so it was a bit trickier to keep in touch with high long-distance rates and physical addresses that changed often.

We had a mutual friend, who was allowed to travel out and see her during the summers, and through her, we still kept in touch. That connection soon ended when the mutual friend and I had a falling out during college and she and I stopped speaking entirely. Add to that my own address changing and causing me to lose many things - my far-away friend's contact information was among what was lost. Needless to say, this made it difficult for me to keep in touch with her.

A few summers ago, I reconnected with the mutual friend and we kept in touch over Facebook. Enough time passed and both of us had grown up since high school and college. Water under the bridge, right? Well, one afternoon, I came across a photo album on her page that showed our mutual friend had gotten married. It wasn't until I started asking questions that things went sour, again, with our common friend. She flatly REFUSED to tell me anything. No e-mail address. Nothing. It was very obvious to me (and those I conferred with) that she was withholding this information on purpose to remain the exclusive friend. (Jealousy from this friend was always an issue when we were in high school.) After I called her out for denying this information, she blocked me from Facebook, and I lost any progress of finding out where my old friend ended up.

I turned to other mutual friends to see if they had any leads, and they were as lost as me. (We are all still stunned at the refusal to share the contact information.) The others asked for the same information, only to get shot down, too. I assume it's because she must not want me to get back in touch, because I would most definitely tell my old friend how awful, childish, and uncooperative she has been. Why else would someone refuse to help two friends reunite? I understand the right to privacy, but what I don't understand is 1) why someone would intentionally prevent others from reconnecting with an old friend or 2) why someone believes to have the right to control the fate of another person. What a power trip this must be and how sad is it that people are like this?

Some would throw in the towel and mutter something about it not being meant to be, after experiencing this amount of frustration. I mean, really, I've been trying for, what, half of my life to find her? Obviously this person doesn't want to be located, since it seems like she's had the CIA come behind and sweep away any trace of her. But, I'm stubborn. I will not let this uncooperative friend win. I don't even know what I would say to my old friend, now, if I were lucky enough to get back in touch with her. It's something I've always wanted, though, and I want her to know that I never stopped caring about her, even if she doesn't give a rip anymore.

This past summer, I moved in with my fiance. As I'm settling in, I've come across some pictures from parties and events we attended together. I've had some time on my hands, so I decided to try using Facebook to find other members of her family. From what I've found, her former step-father and half-brothers are online. I sent a very polite message to the step-father to see if he was still in contact with her and I am still waiting for a reply. I know he has been on to check his Facebook since then and it is very hurtful and frustrating that he would just ignore the e-mail. It has made me lose faith in the goodness and decency of people. I mean, honestly, how hard is it to reply with something as minor as, "No, I'm sorry, but we don't keep in touch. Good luck!" or "She's asked me not to pass along personal information, but I'll let her know you're trying to contact her"? It's the right thing to do - it's what 'I' would do, but I have to remember that everyone is different. Still, knowing that doesn't make this any easier.

So, Angela Clydell Wilson, if you run across this post someday in a search for your name, I want you to know that you were a great friend and are missed by me, Aisha, Tom, and many others. We all had a good run together and I hope life is going well for you. I am easy to find, if you want to get back in touch.

P. S. Tina, count on karma to catch up with you.

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