I am suddenly realizing what Facebook really is:
A mire of people you’d forgotten completely about and had hoped to continue doing so for the rest of your life.
A putrid cesspool of bosses who’d fired you, men who wronged you, girls who made your life hell.
A delightful opportunity to reconnect with women who you thought were your friends in high school, only for you to discover that maybe they never were, particularly when they “friend” you with Hey there – I still remember you with frizzy hair and food in your braces. What’s up?
And then there’s the one guy who turns up. The former best friend who you wondered if you’d ever see again.
The guy who made you laugh all through freshman year, who kept you sane through late night rehearsals of The Pajama Game, who dared to join you on a three week masochistic canoe trip through the wilds of Canada where neither of you had any business being. The guy you missed so terribly when his family moved away after tenth grade.
You tried to keep up in college but as these things often do, you went your separate ways.
And then one sunny morning in LA, nearly 25 years after he hoisted you up on his shoulders to sing Once a Year Day off-tune in the high school auditorium, you sit across from each other over breakfast. You reminisce. You giggle. You briefly consider holding hands and skipping.
He reminds you about the time you dressed up all fancy and hosted a very sophisticated fondue party, just like grownups. Grownups who eat fondue. You suddenly remember that he’s color blind, and that he wore purple pants for years mistakenly thinking they were blue. He confesses how jealous he was that you made out with Matt A at a house party. You confess that you were drunk enough that you thought Matt was his brother Steve.
You smile so hard for so long your cheeks hurt.
And then you get to the hard part – condensing nearly two decades apart into the hour before you leave for the airport. Some of the details become blurry but the essence is clear: You love the path he’s chosen, the life he’s living, the man he became.
And as always, those kind eyes.
Here’s to finding you again Ben. And to Facebook, which sometimes doesn’t suck at all.