Robert (Bro. Pepper-spray of Reasoned Discussion) (montecristo) wrote,
Robert (Bro. Pepper-spray of Reasoned Discussion)

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What the heck do you say to someone with whom you've been out of touch for years?

I'm sitting her watching WinMx and looking at what people are downloading from me this evening. Man, it sure is a sixties/seventies kind of evening. Here's what's going down right now:

  • Bread: "Diary"
  • Hall & Oates: "Private Eyes"
  • Hot Chocolate: "You Sexy Thing"
  • Edward Bear: "Last Song"
  • Sniff & the Tears: "Driver's Seat"
  • Bread: "If"
  • The Fifth Dimension: "Up Up and Away"
Of course, there are the more recent tunes that are being downloaded from me too:
  • Maroon5: "This Love"
  • Matchbox Twenty: "Disease"
  • Simple Minds: "All the Things She Said"
  • Goo Goo Dolls: "Slide"
  • Verve Pipe: "Bittersweet Symphony"
  • Jewel: "Intuition"
The Fifth Dimension song has got me thinking about something very topical. A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, when I was living those magical years between the ages three and five, I had a girlfriend. Well, I had a friend who was a girl whom I liked quite a lot. I think she was rather fond of me, also, because we were somewhat inseparable. Her name is Kelli and she lived down the street from me. Her brother Kevin and I were friends also, but of the two, I liked Kelli better, probably because she was my age and her brother was younger than us, although we all hung out and played together. I remember that old house in Chillicothe, and the small backyard I thought was miles wide and deep but was actually rather ordinary in size. We used to play on the teeter-totter sort of thing on the swing set in my backyard (it wasn't a teeter-totter, per se, because it went back and forth instead of up and down). Anyway, we would do that for really long periods of time, and sing duets together. Isn't it funny the things we remember, the things that, no matter age and distance, refuse to be buried in our minds and forgotten. I still remember her smiling face across from me and wind in my ears, and singing The Fifth Dimension: "Up Up and Away" and Petula Clark: "Downtown", which were favorites of mine.

In 1969, the year I turned six, my parents bought a larger house on the other side of town, and that fall I started kindergarten. I fell out of touch with Kelli. The next I heard of Kelli was when we were thirteen, I think. This I don't remember quite as well as the earlier memory. She was in the hospital. She had been riding her bike down a gravel road on a hill and her front wheel locked-up and threw her over the handle bars. My mom told me what happened, because my parents kept in loose touch with her parents. Kelli got a nasty case of head trauma. The impact shattered the orbit (the bone comprising the eye-socket) of her eye and the doctors had to lift the eye out out to set the bone. When we first heard the news there was some worry that she wouldn't survive the accident and if she did there was the question of whether or not she would lose the vision in the damaged eye. I remember feeling weird considering the idea that someone my age and whom I knew and of whom I had fond memories, could actually die. Yeah, I was thirteen, and I knew about death, at least in the abstract, but before then, I had never really confronted it on a personal level. Fortunately, she did make it, and the doctors even managed to save her eye too. I never did get the chance to visit her or get back in touch at the time, but I saw her briefly about a year or so later. Her face was somewhat changed by the accident. The surgeons did an excellent job repairing the damage, but even so, her face had acquired a slight asymmetry which was actually somewhat charming, in my mind. I still thought she was pretty, and I believe the asymmetry in her eyes just gave her face character. At the time, I did not get an opportunity to speak to her and I haven't seen or heard from her since then.

Two years ago, almost to the day, in fact, I did see something in connection with Kelli. Her father and my mother have apparently been corresponding over the internet among a circle of common friends. I received one of those hoax virus warnings from my internet-unsavvy mother, and noticed that one of the names of the previous originators was Kelli's dad and another name on the list was Kelli's. In order to debunk the hoax, I replied to the people who had been passing it on and then I sent my mom an e-mail asking if that Kelli listed in the e-mail addresses was her. Well, it turns out that it was indeed her. A few days later, my mother forwarded an e-mail sent out by Kelli's dad asking his friends to drop Kelli a line because it was her birthday. I also got an e-mail back from George, because he was the one who had passed the hoax warning on to my mom and he had gotten my message debunking the virus chain mail. I sent him back an e-mail wherein I asked how Kelli and her brother Kevin were doing, and he told me that the rest of the family were kind of on the outs with he and Kelli right now, and he gave me a couple of e-mail addresses so I could drop her a line if I felt like it. At the time, I started composing a letter, but I gave it up and put it away in my "e-mails I'll get around to writing one day" folder. I really couldn't think of what to say after all these years.

Well, the other day I stumbled over those e-mails again while searching for something else (I'm a digital pack-rat, too) and thought about sending a letter to Kelli and re-introducing myself and asking her if she'd like to play catch-up with someone she hasn't seen in years. Her birthday is Wednesday. It would be perfect timing. I just don't know if I should do it or not. We haven't spoken in years. I am curious as to what has become of her, but it just feels weird to write to her after all these years. The internet is a weird enough place without one more yo-yo dropping out of the sky to bug you. I don't know. I guess I wouldn't mind getting such a note, but what if she's changed so much that she's become someone I don't want to know anymore? What if she's grown up bitter and cynical and crass? Ye gahds, what if she's a mental/emotional wreck? After so many years it will be like spamming a total stranger. Heh, what if she does decide that I'm a cretinous internet geek for writing her! I don't know, maybe I should have written two years ago, when the issue was fresh. Her father probably told her that he and I had exchanged an e-mail and that he told me her address. I don't know, but the first thing I would think if I got an e-mail under such circumstances would be, "What's changed?" I guess I'll have to think about it. It can't hurt just to drop a short line and ask if she wants to catch-up with each other. Heh heh, damn my insatiable curiosity; it always gets me in the end.

Tags: family and friends, love, ponderings and curiosity, reminiscence, women

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