Ballard, beach, coast, darkness, dating, dinner, drama, email, Facebook, friendship, relaetionships, texting, time
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve had a double shot post week, so why not now? Something about the holiday season, shopping rush, the solstice…my whole world just tingles with good (and restless) energy. There’s a mad scramble at work to get stuff done before the office pretty much goes quiet this week and next as people take vacation over the holidays and into early January. And for those of us still plugging away over a hot desk and laptop, well, there’s that funny struggle of wanting to get more done while it’s quiet, but there aren’t enough people around to truly get it all done or all the right decisions made…ah, the classic dilemma, at least where I’m working right now. Years ago I used to work in the retail service management industry, and this time of year for vacation was a big ol’ fuhgeddaboudit given the peak shopping season. Nope – all hands on deck save for Christmas Day and New Years Day. And today I sit here and think oh crap, I’ve gotta head into the belly of the beast tomorrow (meaning The Mall) and finish some last minute gift shopping.
So anyway, last week I was on Facebook. Now, how often have you read that or heard someone say that and think oh no. Right? Well, as I said when I first launched fivenineteen over two years ago, my interpretations and musings on reality are better than anything I could possibly make up. You might want to go pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage for this one.
OK, back to Facebook now. Last week on some ho-hum Wednesday night I happened to be browsing around and saw a post from a woman I know from the church I used to attend years ago. Haven’t seen her in probably 10+ years, which is kind of sad, but I don’t attend that church any longer.
Her post: “
I thought OK, what the hell, I’ll peruse over there and find this “other” folder. Man, I love Facebook but it’s hard for me to keep up with all the changes and learn all the nuances and whatnot. By the time I’m home from work and on my home laptop, my brain is pretty much full and fried.
So there was the elusive little “other” folder, a tiny subfolder on my left menu bar. I clicked on it and up popped a very long list of what looked like notifications, spammy type stuff and one email from some random weirdo dude who really likes my profile. Uh huh, whatever. Delete!
Then, there they were. Not one but TWO messages from a guy I was great friends with years ago who I was no longer in contact with. Basically saying hi there, it’s been forever, I’m about 92% sure this is you and would be great to catch up sometime. Oh. My. God. I about fell out of my chair!! And then I about fell out of my chair again when I noticed he had sent these emails to me back in freakin’ JULY!! Holy moly…had I not seen that random post from my church friend I never ever would have even noticed that “other” folder in the Facebook message section!
My fingers flew on the keyboard. I wrote him back, still in shock to have found this folder…and his emails from months ago! Yes, yes, it’s me, I’m alive…!!
So what’s the story with this guy, you may wonder? In short, he is the closest guy friend I have ever had. We met online I’m guessing around late 2004 or early 2005ish. I had been in a relationship with another guy a good chunk of 2004 who I’d met through hockey. He broke up with me that fall and I admit it broke my heart and put me into an emotional tailspin of sorts. Hard to explain, and now with it being 7 years later the memories can get a little fuzzy and mushy both. While I’m not typically the type of girl who always has to have a boyfriend, something about that breakup triggered something within me. I immediately started online dating – on two different sites at the same time actually – and I THINK that might have been my first time ever doing that. Nowadays meeting people online is not anything weird, but back then it still might have been a little odd given it had not been around that long. Or maybe that’s just my interpretation.
I started going out on a bunch of dates and kind of having casual, not too serious mini-relationships of sorts (and yes, hookups) with a couple of guys. I felt lost and hurt after getting dumped and was just looking for some reasurrance that I was really still desirable to men. In that timeframe, I met L, probably for coffee and dessert or something. We had hockey in common and I just remember him being nice and friendly with an offbeat and awesome sense of humor.
We went out on a couple dates and talked on the phone a few times (this is the olden days before texting became so commonplace) and somewhere in all of this we somehow realized we were better off as friends rather than dating. I’m giggling right now, because if he happens to read this at some point I’m sure he will let me know if my memory of all of this is correct or not.
Let’s just say 2005 was a hell of a year. A lot of Life happened and it was intense. My grandfather passed away in early February, a month short of his 94th birthday. 13 days later my niece was born. My Dad retired. I was growing restless at my job – a company I had worked at for over 6 years at that time and I really loved it – but my new Director and I were butting heads quite a bit.
And in the spring of that year, I went through a very dark season in my life. There was legal drama involved in it too. I am not going to delve into that in here, but just know it was a very bad time for me and given I am an expert at beating myself up, combine that quirk with dark drama and I just felt very lost. I felt like my world was turned sideways or upside down…like my reality had just snapped, shifted and toppled over.
I felt lost but not alone, thank goodness. L was there for me through it all. An amazing friend and confidant he was for me. I confided in probably only my uber close friends circle and my family about what I was going through. L listened and helped keep me laughing when I needed to and gave me advice. He helped me with a few projects around the townhouse here and just was a great shoulder to lean on. And in the funny, small world we live in, it turns out another (female) friend of his has a beach house not far from where my family has had one for 3 generations. The 3 of us even went down there together one weekend. Can’t help but laugh at the Threes Company-ish thing it was, but it was great.
Now somewhere in all of this, L and I started up a mini episode of Friends with Benefits. Ummmm…yeah. Don’t judge, people. Yeah, whenever I hear about people getting into dealios like that I used to judge and think I’d NEVER do that. But definitely no regrets…and he and I later talked about it and agreed we would not cross that line any longer. And we didn’t.
As my dark drama was finishing up that fall, I met another guy online and it got pretty serious pretty quickly. L and I shared our dating stories all the time, and he was genuinely happy for me when this one started taking off. And I was very open about my friendship with L with my new boyfriend. Nothing to hide.
But he would have nothing of it. He didn’t want me to be around L and didn’t want to meet him or anything. Nope. And I got grilled with ten billion questions about him too and the nature of our friendship. Now, side note here – as I’ve shared this recently with a few close friends – friends I’ve met since that era who never knew L or my boyfriend then – it’s amazing the wide variety of opinions that come out. Some friends say well, you should have run the other way when your boyfriend got controlling and possessive like that early on. Others say yeah, I can totally see why he wouldn’t want you having a close guy friend still in your life as you were focusing on a new relationship. It’s all water under the bridge now. But I tell you, I’d never been in a situation like that before and I haven’t since.
L gradually faded from my life. I’d made the decision to focus on my new relationship. He and I may have gotten into a couple of spats while this ‘transition’ was happening too. Again, fuzzy and mushy memories.
When I walked away from that boyfriend in spring of 2007, I kept moving forward and never reached out to L. I had great memories of our friendship and time together but never made any effort to try to track him down. Sometimes people are in our lives for a short while to make a difference, help us and then move on, and I chalked him up to being one of those.
And…life moved onward.
So. 2 days after I discovered those emails in my Facebook inbox last week I was on my way into Ballard to meet L for dinner. My God, had it really been six years? It was like no time had passed. I cannot tell you how great it was to just see an old friend and pick up right where we’d left off. Definitely no hard feelings or regrets. Just hours of talking and catching up. And a brief interlude between restaurants to walk his friend’s dog – the one with the beach house near my folks’. Even seeing that dog again brought another wave of great memories whooshing back. Wow.
What a wonderful end of year surprise! Oh, and he and I are Facebook friends now, of course. He says, “hey, let’s try staying friends this time, OK?”
I think that’s a GREAT idea.