I used to dream about going somewhere and starting over. I’d acquire a new name and no one would know who I was, where I came from, what I had done. I was filled with a type of soul-blackening shame I did not deserve and hated everything about myself to have become what I was.

I believe I was 5 when I started having those fantasies. I remember being in kindergarden drawing pictures of my family and home and it was just me and my dog; no mom, no dad, no sister, no neighbors. Just me and the dog. As an adult I find it a little disturbing that my kind and experienced kindergarden teacher did not find me the slightest bit unusual, but way back then it was likely chalked up to my creativity or something equally harmless.

This thought occurs to me today because I’m enjoying my last lunch hour with this firm. Next week I will make my own lunch hour, at my kitchen table or at my desk at home. Or not have a lunch hour at all. I am going somewhere else and reinventing as I chug along. Frankly, I cannot wait.

This train of thought comes from a blast from my past, on Facebook. The boy next door, quite literally, just sent me a friend request. It’s been 36 years since I last laid eyes on him at our high school graduation. Though I have heard stories from other long-time high school friends – he was in the air force, had a lovely wife and family, was still the same nerdy/geeky guy – this was the first contact since those days. I left it sitting there, the friend request. I want to go home and look at his profile and see what he shares with the public about his life and times. I want to think about whether or not I want to open up that part of my childhood again. We were only neighbors for 4 years, until my family moved at age 12. But we remained in the same school district, so when I look back at my class pictures for elementary school, there he is with the military haircut and dumbo ears grinning back at me. I do not find myself smiling in return or at the memories. Instead I feel this phantom pain all through my midsection. Not his fault; he was never anything but courteous to everyone. It’s just the time period, the proximity, the way I felt, what happened to me.

In the midst of all this transition with work and life, I find myself sucked back into a childhood past I wish I could forget. I am not sure about that friend request. Not his fault; if I cannot forget I have to remain as distant as possible from my childhood and past. And separate. It is important to be separate. To be safe. And sane.

7 thoughts on “When I was a kid …

  1. Take your time to think about it. I don’t always accept requests from school friends either. I’m not sure what the point is unless you would like them to be actively aware of your current life

    1. You’re very wise, M. I am such a late adopter (read: maybe 6 months?) of facebook I’m not even sure what I’m doing there 90% of the time. I look at and like my kids’ pictures, say “hi” via their timelines to all their friends I know, and that’s about it. I cannot imagine what we might have in common after all this time.

      1. At first I accepted all those school requests and then, like you, realized I just liked knowing what was going on in lives of people I loved or missed it found it too difficult to maintain constant contact with. For that, olive FB or Instagram. But polite people I passed in a hallway 25-30 years ago, no thanks. My life is full enough with people who make a sincere difference.

  2. I don’t have facebook. But I know that the few people I still keep in touch with I keep in touch for a reason. They mattered to me then and do now. One of the reasons I never joined facebook is I don’t want to talk to the girl who was my best friend and then stopped talking to me or the people I thought were my friends and learned to late they were not. I guess I don’t want to go back to visit grade school or highschool. It was to hard then and I just have no desire to do it now. Some things are just better left in the past for me I guess. I was of of no help on this one was I

    1. Mostly I find Facebook pretty pointless. I love keeping up with my kids and their lives and seeing their friends’ post is a huge bonus. But that’s about it. I declined the friend request with a simple explanation, the equivalent of a friendly wave as I drive on.

  3. This hit a little close to home for me. I have an unanswered friend request from someone from my past. It triggers such memories that I haven’t been able to even decline it. Not a huge Facebook fan but the best way these days to keep up with some far away friends.

    1. Facebook is useful for keeping up with faraway friends, but I simply don’t know what to do with friend requests from people I haven’t spoken to or thought of much in too many years. Right now that friend request is just sitting there. Maybe if I wait long enough he will have forgotten about it and not wonder why I never accepted or declined. In this case, denial is my friend.

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