Someone I didn't want to let go, but just drifted.
Valerie was her name. We met freshman year of college at UMass Amherst, sitting a few seats away from each other in math class. After the first week or so I think we both realized it was obvious neither one of us had a clue what we were doing and we started comparing our failing papers.
It turned out we lived in the same dorm. Kennedy. It was like 18 floors or so. I was on the 7th, she was on one of the top ones (which one I can't remember anymore). And that math class? Was like a 2 mile walk across campus - in freezing weather. We would walk, chat, sit next to each other in class, and found we had so many things in common.
She was so fun to be around. That 1st semester she had gotten slightly better math grades than me, and even though we were Both failing, I got the D and she got the F. The class was taught by a young teaching assistant and he would sit and talk with Val & I before class and she always swore he was hitting on me. When he asked if my big brother went to Norwich that should have been a clue, but I was clueless never the less. In the end, just being cute and smiley got me a D (which meant you didn't have to take the class over)... but my poor girl Val had to repeat the class.
Second semester we hung out all the time, had a mutual hate for our roommates, and would spend most of April tanning on the quad. Yes, April - in New England. In bathing suits and shorts, freezing our butts off but it was all in the name of darker skin. Leaving UMass after that year, I knew we would be friends forever.
For the next few years, we never managed to visit each other but we talked on the phone, sent letters and e-mailed when we could (because hello in the late 90's not many of us had our own computer and it would sometimes take you Hours waiting your turn for a spot in the college computer lab) and made plans for our futures.
She was the first friend I had get married. We were still in college. I was a bridesmaid and it was so exciting. I felt so grown up. After the shower and the wedding we swore we would see each other all the time. We only lived about 2 hours apart and now we both had cars we reasoned.
But around the time that her life was coming together and moving forward, a large part of mine was falling apart. Two totally different paths and I don't think we could relate to what the other one was going through, even though we never said it. We made plans to double date - her and her husband, my boyfriend and I - to meet them at a restaurant about an hour and a half away for dinner.
They were on a time schedule that day. And we spent a few hours stuck in horrible traffic. She told me they weren't going to be able to stay, her husband had some big exam the next day. I remember pleading to just give us a little more time. We pulled in just as they were pulling out. And they didn't stop. That was the last time I saw her.
We would talk and e-mail but it was becoming farther apart on both of our ends. I can't exactly speak for her, but I think we both just thought that we would always be there. You move, you change and you grow and you lose touch. I don't think I even saw it happening at the time.
I got engaged and I had no idea where she was. I remember wanting to tell her, wishing we hadn't lost touch so she could be there, but even her parents had moved now so I had no way to find her. Over the years I have tried to look her up online, all I came up with was an old address they had moved from. I know she's still married, and has 2 daughters. That's it though. It's funny that with the amount of time we used to spend online when we were younger, I can not find a facebook account or anything else in her maiden or married name. I think of her from time to time and hope she's doing well, and that maybe someday we'll reconnect again.