So in a fit of curiosity a while back, I signed up for one of those "find your old school friends" services online-- just the free kind, 'cause I'm not that crazy. But of course most of the people I care about talking to again aren't listed on those things, or I already know how to get in touch with them, so I'd kind of forgotten about it.
However... this evening I got a notice that someone from my past was interested in getting in touch with me. This is a girl I hung out with in my old neighborhood (4th-8th grade), which I have to tell you, wasn't a very nice one. The neighborhood, I meant, but it's true of the girl too. There are those who would have called her family "white trash"; I didn't know what the term meant.
I could mention that she's now a single mom of teenagers and living in North Carolina, cleaning stuff for a living. So probably she hasn't really changed much, although I'm admittedly biased. I remember her laughing uproariously at her older brother's fart jokes. I remember the plaid shirts she used to wear before grunge had made them cool. I remember her stringy red hair and freckles, sometimes under a cowboy hat. Her wide grin, her brassy voice-- usually making a rude comment disguised as humor.
My mixed feelings about whether to reply to her note are curious to me. The years I spent in that place were not mostly happy ones, and the fact that I hung out with people I didn't like or respect embarrasses me. The fact that they feel good about having had me for a friend is nice, and I really want to be a friend to people... love thy neighbor and all that. So I guess I'm having a hard time accepting that I don't love my neighbor when she makes my skin crawl. Must work on that.