There are a few people who meant a lot to me in the dim and distant past. Mostly early girlfriends, some proper "Best Mates". Here’s what I know of them so far.
Lucy - Infant School Girlfriend.
Lucy appeared on Friends Reunited a while ago. Mysteriously she appeared about a week after my initial subscription had expired. the cynic in me would wonder if they checked who people searched for, and waited till they had expired before making the profiles available, hence forcing you to renew to contact them. If that was the case, it worked on me - I renewed and dropped her note. She’s ok - I got a polite response back, I replied to this, she disappeared.
I realised that she probably hardly remembered me. She was 6. So was I. She might have had a dozen guys who offered to marry her, bought plastic rings, and got their brothers to do the ceremony in church. I only had one girl. It would seem she meant a lot more to me than I did to her.
Louise - Unrequited at Junior School.
Taking a step back, before the wonders of the internet, I looked up another "old flame" in the phone book. Knowing her family moved to Swansea, Louise Woodcock should be easy to find. I called her mum, got her number, and we had a chat. I was living in Cardiff at the time, and we met up, had some drinks and a laugh. I asked her how she remembered me, and I was just some guy in her class. She was the object of my junior school affections, consistently out of reach as she was going out with a guy from another school. Single when we went out, I asked her if we could give "us" a go. We couldn't. She's happily married with one baby and another on the way now (I know this through Facebook) but although she accepted my friend request, we've not messaged since. It is nice to know she's happy. I like to think she is happy to know that I'm doing ok too.
Toni - Jilted by me at junior school.
I found Toni on Friends Reunited - she left me with a bit of a worry. Throughout junior school, Toni had a bit of a crush on me, and I don't think I ever returned her affection, except on one occasion, which I won't go into detail on, but it got me into trouble with the teachers, and had the potential to scar the poor girl for life.
The question is, when 20 years later, you get the opportunity to apologise for such an act do you:
A - Apologise, and give the victim the satisfaction that not only do you remember the event, but you have felt remorse for it ever since, and can only now beg for forgiveness now we are all grown up and moved on
B - Apologise, thus reminding the victim that the event happened when it meant little or nothing to them at the time, and getting them all concerned about my memories of the event, re-opening old wounds and sparking the need for months of expensive therapy.
C - Don’t mention it, hoping that she has forgotten it ever happened, but running the risk that she is fuming about it, and has been expecting an apology for every one of the 15 intervening years.
D - Tell the internet about it to show I have thought about these things, and to make me seem all sensitive and caring about all aspects of the poor girls feelings.
I chose C at the time, and I have now done D. I'm still not sure either is sensible.
Which brings me on to my current dilemma?
HannaH - junior school girlfriend (of about a week) but regularly thought about ever since.
Hannah used to write her name with 2 capital H's. (It’s a palindrome you see). She loved Michael Jackson, and had a wall of her room covered with a thousand pictures of him. she's the tall one standing next to me in our school photo, aged 11, when I’m all crew cut, tank top and sticking out ears, and she's all youthful beauty, curly hair, and carefully arranged kiss curl on her forehead (MJ style). She probably would get the credit for getting me into pop music (sorry Dad – playing me your Byrds albums doesn’t count).
Other than our brief "being boyfriend/girlfriend" (I have no idea how it started/ended, only that it happened and we played some form of happy families game with another 2 kids (Ian and Jessica?) which I probably decided should be strip happy families game (I was a 10 year old perv - ok? See Toni above) in her room,) I have very few memories of her.
Somewhere I still have a photo of her blowing out the candles on her 4th birthday. I have no idea why she gave me this photo. Of all my old school friends, she was the one I always wondered; "Where is she now? Is she still as beautiful as she was in the school photo? Did she marry; have kids, and most importantly, DID SHE EVER THINK OF ME?"
I now have the opportunity to ask all these questions. She appeared on Facebook. I noticed her while browsing another school friend of that era's friends, and there she was. Married name present, but kindly also giving her maiden name. I sent the friend request, with a simple note "hello to my second girlfriend".
She accepted the friend request, but didn't reply to the note. This was about a week ago. Now I can see her full profile, it is clear she's been on Facebook for a while. Lots of applications, lots of messages, loads of friends. I started finding answers to my questions.
Where is she now? - working on the ambulances, not far from where we grew up.
Is she still as beautiful as she was in the school photo? - (yes. very different (she could have walked past me in the street, or chatted me up in a bar (like this would happen), and I’d never have recognised her))
Did she marry? (Yes she did)
Have kids? (Not worked that out - no baby photos on Facebook, but that’s no guarantee)
And most importantly, DID SHE EVER THINK OF ME?
Based on how long she has been on Facebook, the (now) mutual friends and the extent of her networks, it would seem the answer to that question is an emphatic NO.
I'll write a proper note to her. I might just send this whole blog entry (and bore her silly, but at least get the full message across), but it seems I’ll have to get used to the fact that:
Certain people meant far more to me than I ever did to them.
I'm very egotistical (can you tell). The world revolves around me, and this revelation does not compute with my high opinion of myself. There can be only one reason which will leave me believing I am still worthy of such a position in my own head.
Somewhere out there, there are a thousand people (or so) who are wishing this blog had been about them, and are sorely disappointed that I never even mentioned them once. Sorry girls. In case you are wondering, I’m doing well, happily married, don’t want kids and I clearly never think of you at all.