I hadn’t seen or heard from her in over three years, and then one summer, she sent me a letter. The reasons for us losing touch are too complicated to note here, and may not matter anyway. In short: she had graduated from college and moved on with her life.
Her letter was handwritten, which is a nice touch in the age of word processors and emails, and she briefly filled in the gaps of my knowledge. She was preparing to adjunct at a local college, and her wedding was set for that December.
Interestingly enough, I was beginning my teaching career as an adjunct at the same college that fall. Seeing her a few weeks later at the teacher orientation session, I noticed that she hadn’t changed that much. On the surface, her look was more professional than it had been as a student, but otherwise, I found it difficult to acknowledge the passing of three years.
And though we were friendly to one another that semester, we were by no means close friends. When she wasn’t teaching, she was understandably occupied with wedding plans.
On the last day of the semester, we were both in the office finalizing our grades; and as I had not been invited to the wedding, I knew that this would be the last time I would ever see her. She never seemed to notice that she was going back into the void; she never seemed to notice that her absence would be felt deeply for years to come.
Today, think of absence. Is there someone still living (as far as you know) who was once a valuable part of your life that you’ve now lost complete touch with? Did you have any clues that this was going to happen, and if so, why didn’t you fight to maintain contact?
“Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear.”