Thursday, December 18, 2008


Everyone knows how terrifyingly addictive F*cebook can be, yes? It's great to catch up with old friends from the past and can be rather jarring when you realize just how long you've been out of highschool (not that I've felt that way, mind you...). But here's the thing, something very strange and very cool has happened. I might actually call it a holiday miracle if I have one more glass of wine...

(*sound of generous pouring*)

S'okay. When I was a little girl, Medieval Mom and Medieval Pop got divorced (amicably) and MM started dating the man who would become my stepfather for a time. I never liked him and he never liked me. He didn't treat my mom very well and, well, there you go. He had 3 kids - 2 girls and a little boy - all of whom I got along with pretty well. I am a "singleton", so I never grew up with siblings, and I thought it was pretty cool to have some. The oldest girl and I were the same age and were in the same grade in school. Our parents got married just before highschool and I had to move to their town, which had a much better school system - it was a smart move - but try telling a 13-year-old that! My step sister was popular, had lived there forever, was skinny, had perfect hair, etc. We went to the same highschool and I was always known as her stepsister - the kind of kooky girl in French Club and on the literary journal staff. I took college classes my last year. It wasn't the happiest time for me - I blossomed into full geeky splendor in college.

Sorry this is a long backstory. My first year of college, MM and my stepdad got divorced - it wasn't amicable. He was a dick. We were still on very good terms with the youngest of my stepsisters, who was upset because she felt like she was losing my mom. But the oldest sister didn't like this. She came to our new house, screaming and trying to kick in the door, telling us to stay away from her sister. I was a hothead and went out to confront her and threatened to call the cops. There was a struggle and finally Medieval Mom pulled us apart and told her to get lost. That was the last contact I ever had with her. I was in college out of state; she was in state and our parents were divorced. So, our already strained relationship throughout highschool just exploded.

Over the years of living in the same town, my mom has run into her a couple of times and it was always nice - she seemed to have mellowed and asked after me, etc. I knew she'd gotten married, had kids. But I hated her dad and I didn't want to go back to that time. I didn't go to our highschool reunion (not b/c of her), but I thought she'd be there and it would be highschool angst all over again.

Enter F*cebook. In a fit of nostalgia I joined the group for my school and graduation year and it's freaky to see names and faces that I recognize yet don't. It's very nice to see what people are up to - I remember my old Chemistry class partner who used to crystalize our stirring stick during lab, he's now in L.A. making commercials! I saw that my ex-step-sister was also listed and thought long and hard about whether I wanted to "friend" her - but then I thought - what the hell, friend liberally!

We've been exchanging emails for a few days now and I honestly didn't know how much that last interaction we'd had (nay, fight!) had remained in my mind all these years. It's still a traumatic thing for me to remember. And I emailed her and said that her kids are beautiful and asked how she was, and we've been talking ever since. I finally told her how sorry I was for being such a hothead and how much I regretted all the things that happened, not just on that day. She wrote back immediately saying that she'd been wanting to say the same thing for years - she said she should have been so happy to have a new sister, but we were young and insecure and protective of our parents, and she let that opportunity pass by. I started crying so hard; it was so meaningful to read that.

So, now I reconcile with someone who was a part of my life for a decade and then wasn't a part of it for another decade - but she always was. Does that make sense? We're sharing old memories of boys, 80s bangs, stupid songs, taking her dad's truck out for a joy ride (when we were 14...ahem...).

I feel young again.


Flavia said...

You know, I think this is so true. Even without having had explicitly cathartic moments or explanations or apologies with people, I've felt that Facebook has allowed me to be friends--but with appropriate distance--with people with whom in reality my relationship is much more vexed (or would be, if I simply ran into them on the street or dropped them an email).

And I appreciate it for that. Yeah, yeah: people can complain about the superficiality or the shallowness of it, but that kind of distance, and the public nature of so much of the communication that goes on there, permits healing of a different sort. What begins as the occasional quip or wall post or whatever can, also, blossom into a real (and real-life) re-connection. . . but without the anxiety or emotional investment upfront.

In any case, I'm so glad to hear of your own reconnection.

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

That is really, really cool.

What Now? said...

MW, what a lovely story! It sounds like such a healing experience for both of you. Good for you for the courage to contact her in the first place and then to apologize; I'm glad that courage has been so well rewarded.

Pantagruelle said...

Wow, what a wonderful and amazing story!

Hilaire said...

What a fantastic story! I'm so happy that you reconnected. So hopeful!!