Last Christmas was the first after my husband left in April 2015. I was in Italy petsitting a wonderful cat named Nox. It was a nice, quiet Christmas, but it was also a lonely and sad one.
A dear friend sent me a card with a little story inside about a perfect Christmas moment for me, sharing a cup of mulled cider beneath Big Ben along the frozen banks of the Thames with a fellow traveler.
That’s not quite my reality this Christmas, but there is a renewed hope (that very dangerous emotion) that it might be in my future.
32 years ago, a sweet boy and dear friend expressed his love for me. I was 14(ish) and he was 15(ish). I was foolish and had a crush on some bad-boy drummer, so I turned him down. Gently, I hope. His family moved away right after, and I never saw him again.
I regretted my decision almost immediately, not that I would’ve been mature or healthy enough to pursue a meaningful romantic relationship with my friend in 1984 regardless, but I always regretted how we parted. I lost someone special to me that day.
For the past 32 years, I’ve been looking for him on and off. The first 20 years I searched more often, starting (pre-internet) with a call to the Oregon directory assistance and asked them to do a statewide search. They likely humored me, but it was impossible, especially since the phone wouldn’t have have been in his name, but his parents.
Still, I tried.
When the internet became a thing in the 90s, I searched first on AOL, then MySpace, Netscape, Ask Jeeves, and the like.
Nothing. Not even a lead.
In 1999 I met my husband and married in 2000, so I’m not sure if I thought of my long lost friend again. Perhaps once or twice in the early 2000s, when I would search again, but I hadn’t thought about him in at least ten years.
Jump forward to two weeks ago: Separated from my husband for nearly 2 years. Divorce pending. New life and lifestyle. Content and peaceful with being on my own. Rarely lonely anymore. My next 9 months are planned with petsits in Switzerland and the UK.
Things were good.
A random shared Facebook post brought him to mind, but it took me the entire day for my 47-year-old brain to even remember his surname. I asked High School friends if they remembered him, and they looked through yearbooks for him, but no luck.
A Google search brought up dozens of people by that name, and I messaged a few with the note: “Forgive the intrusion, but did you happen to live in Texas around 1985?” No luck.
However, a little persistence and some fine cyber-detective work produced a very promising lead. I found a Facebook page that matched the name, and once I saw his picture, I knew I had found him.
After all this time I had found my long-lost, special friend.
He responded to my “forgive the intrusion” note, and we chatted for over two hours catching up. Since, there hasn’t been a day we haven’t talked, and we get along splendidly. We have many things in common, and we’re both in a place in our lives that benefitted from this unexpected reconnection. It has brought both joy and hope to each of us in this Christmas.
Truly too early to tell of course, but things are going well. I’ll leave it at that.
This holiday season I’m not sad and alone. I will be near both old and new friends here in the Ft. Collins – Denver area (current petsit), so I will (and already have had) some great evenings reconnecting with friends from college and my Steampunk days. In St. Louis, CO, Salt Lake City, and Oregon, I will be spending time with special people, and I couldn’t be more pleased about it all.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing of all is My Christmas Miracle. After all these years, I found him, and he is just as kind, funny, and sweet as he was 32 years ago.
With a little luck, I might just get a second chance at love. Fingers crossed.
May you all find peace this holiday season.