Throwback of the Day: where I post some old random picture from the past and share a story about it.
My college friend, Carol M. and me, just before I moved to Colorado, about 21 years, ago. This photo was taken in her apartment in Kearney, NE, days before I hit the road towards the Rocky Mountains.
When I first met Carol, I did not like her one bit. We shared an economics class, together, with a mutual friend (whose name has slipped my memory). Carol was the person, in class, who always asked the 10-minute questions, right at 5-minutes before the end of class. Ugh. That class was boring enough without 5 extra minutes tacked on!
One day out mutual friend told me that she had someone that she wanted me to meet and I grumbled when she introduced me, formally, to Carol. But, after talking to her for a bit and getting to know her, outside of class, we became fast friends.
We had very little in common, save for the fact that we were both trying to further our education, we were in a similar degree program (Business: Me-Business & Marketing, Her-Business Accounting) and took many of the same courses, we had children the same age, we liked the same kind of music, and we were both single. We had one other thing in common, but that’s a story for another day. We would eventually serve on the Student Life Counsel together, for a couple of years. She was one of my closest BFFs, at the time.
At some point, later, we had a major falling out…over a man. No, I didn’t steal her man and she didn’t steal mine. But, the men we were dating at the time, were also BFFs. My man, Daniel, told me in confidence, that his friend was a complete douchebag and was up to no good, but told me not to tell her (because, a) she probably wouldn’t believe me, b) her man would know that it was my man that had brought it it, and c) what if things worked out, despite his douchebaggery?). So, I kept that little nugget to myself. Besides, she was happy and I wasn’t going to be the one who wrecked it for her.
What broke up the friendship, temporarily, was the fact that I broke my man’s confidence, to her, when she announced, just before we were set to graduate, that she was moving away with her man. I could not, in good conscience let her go away with this guy, without saying something. She was my best friend, after all. She did not take the news well and shortly, thereafter, we went our separate ways.
Several months later, a mutual friend and BFF, Bobbie told me that she had run into Carol while out and about and she had asked about me. Eventually, Carol and I got back in touch and agreed to meet for lunch where she broke down and told me that her man did, indeed, turn out to be a royal douchebag. She apologized for not believing me and I apologized for breaking the news the way that I had (I may have had a mini-rage attack when she made her announcement about moving in with the guy).
Not too long after that, I decided that it was time to move away from Nebraska, where I had lived for more than a decade. Her home was on the way out, so I went and stayed with her for a couple of weeks, until my uncle, whom I was moving in with, came from Colorado to transport me to my new home.
I would visit Carol in Kearney, one more time after this photo was taken. Then, I would see her three more times, when she would visit me in Colorado (twice when I was pregnant with each of my two youngest kids). Shortly after my daughter was born was the last time that I ever heard from her. I received a Christmas card with a photo of her and her daughter and later, someone called me as a reference for her to get security clearance for her new job. After that, I lost complete contact with her.
You would think that in the age of Facebook that you could find absolutely anyone that you wanted. But, Carol is sort of another story. I have found her mother and her daughter on FB, but I cannot find her. I was never really close with her daughter and I barely knew her parents, so it feels awkward thinking about reaching out to virtual strangers asking how to reach her; if she’s even reachable. Every time I consider messaging one of them, I get this incredible knot in my stomach and change my mind (I have stalked their FB pages though, and maybe, downloaded a recent photo or two for posterity). Part of me is afraid that maybe her absence is bad news, and I would rather not drag up bad news from people who don’t really know me.
Trying to find Carol, herself has been daunting. I have done hours and hours of searches for her, on FB (I found her family members, but she is not connected to them) and Google, including image searches. You don’t appreciate how very un-unique our names are until you plug in someone’s name and realize that there are, literally, hundreds of people with the exact same first and last and even first, middle, and last names. Finding Carol has been like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
So much has happened in my life since this photo was taken and I miss sharing that with her. I just hope that she’s out there, somewhere and she’s happy.