It's funny how old friends, former lovers, and past hurts can rise up from the dead and attack you--and by 'funny', I really mean RED ALERT RED ALERT ABORT MISSION IMMEDIATELY. Congratulations, Facebook, for amassing the largest collection of people I've been avoiding in the history of the online world, but who have apparently been looking for me. Everyone from my small town high school? CHECK. Every person I regret having slept with? CHECK. Unrequited love? Every one of 'em. The one that got away? Oh. *sigh* Him.
"He" is a Facebook friend who's incredibly nice, blissfully married, and far, far away. I never check his profile, rarely ever talk about him, and have only messaged him once: to welcome him to Facebook, like a self-promoting social networking tour guide. He didn't respond; I wasn't surprised.
I hate this man, and I love this man. I love him because he only ever showed me true friendship and kindness; I hate this man because my heart was like a pencil and he was like a sharpener, grinding down my heart until it was the size of a cheap-ass church pencil. And you know what those are like: useful only for tallying Yahtzee scores, or maybe stabbing a preemie.
Against my own good judgment, and flanked by the phrases "I'm bored" and "What's the worst that could happen?" I moseyed on over to his Facebook page. Historically, when someone asks, "What's the worst that could happen?", the answer is usually violence, cancer, or rodeo clowns. What I found on his page was closer to 'violent, cancerous rodeo clowns' taking over the world, and forcing us to work in Kathy Lee's sweatshops making blingtastic jeans: he's doing awesome, he seems happy, he's still adorable. Can you believe the goddamn nerve of the guy? What an asshole.
I can't believe it's been over ten years and I still get a twinge of regret when I think of him. I can't believe I went to his stupid Facebook profile, and got nervous just poking around. I can't believe, after all this time, I'm still mooning about like he left two days ago. I'm so happy with the Esq, and love our life together, so I marvel at the power of a past relationship that ultimately went nowhere. When I saw a real photo of him, of how he's barely aged in 12 years, and his smile!--hardly a better one out there besides my sweetie and the monster--I felt twenty years old again: youthful, brazen, electric, alive. I remembered the 20-year old certainty that this man was MINE; I all but peed directly on him when we met, although later on I just peed around him in tight, exclusionary circles. Needless to say, our friendship was an intense, beautiful, heartbreaking experience, and I re-lived every moment tonight thanks to my folly and my Facebook.
How can old wounds feel so fresh? I'm humbled and annoyed by them. Fortunately, I remember why it never would have worked out, the manner of his leaving, and the way I held on to a possible future with him. I stayed in fantasy about this man for a long time because in reality, my life was a piece of shit--sometimes I had only that hope to hold onto. To imagine a future with him was a luxury because I was imagining myself even having a future, something I was unsure of at times. So my connection to him, far after he'd gone, propelled me through the mire of my unhealthy relationships (or as I like to call it, "my twenties"), and for that I am grateful. Luckily, I found a man who is good for me in many ways, and not just an unfinished dream; a man who is good for my 32-year old self and has nothing to do with the past. But with something like Facebook, the past is two clicks away from the present when I log in each day, reminding me of its presence every now and then. Which is why, if 'the past' were in beast or human form, I would take a loaded shotgun with me to Facebook, shoot to kill, carve it up, and serve it for our Thanksgiving dinner. I would include a large portion of get-over-it-already, a huge helping of 'it wasn't meant to be', and a big glass of my current happiness, to remind me of what is most important:
[RADWORDS]: FACEBOOK, KATHY LEE, CANCER, YAHTZEE, RODEO CLOWNS.