Monday, October 16, 2006

The Illusionist

I used to live with a girl from my high school in college. We had decided to live together on a whim when we discovered that we were going to the same school. We hung out with the same crowd, but we weren’t incredibly close, so we had some safe “roommate” distance, and, despite some spats here and there, it worked out very well. Our friendship came out of our freshman year relatively intact. Although we inevitably started to drift apart in the years that followed, we managed to maintain some contact in the form of late-night coffee runs, random emails/phone calls, and coincidental run-ins at bars and clubs.

She had always been relatively quiet in high school. Sociable, but never a butterfly. She got along with everyone, so without making an effort, people naturally seemed to gravitate towards her. Somewhere along the way (towards the end of freshman year going into sophomore year), she changed. She joined a sorority, began drinking heavily, and became seemingly engulfed in enriching her social life in every destructive way possible. People who knew her were completely shocked.

After indulging this lifestyle for the remainder of her college career and the first few months following her graduation, she decided to reinvent herself again. Except, she didn’t so much reinvent herself, as she chose to completely disappear.

I'm not sure when, exactly, she vanished, but it’s been over a year and a half now since I’ve seen or heard of/from her. A blog that she used to update regularly hasn’t been touched, her cell phone number is cancelled, the many Facebook, MySpace, Friendster networking sites she subscribed to have been abandoned, emails aren’t returned. Every so often, I ask someone who used to hang out with her where she is, and it seems to take a moment for them to register her name before they realize who I am talking about. Needless to say, no one knows what has become of her.

I wonder about her—where she is, what she’s doing. I assume that she’s okay—partly because I know I would have heard something if she wasn’t, partly because I know she is the type of person who is capable of abandoning everything on a whim (it was something she often did on a smaller scale in high school).

Mostly, I envy her. I envy that she found the ability to reevaluate her life, see that she wasn’t happy with it, and rather than making minor adjustments, she flipped everything on its ass and walked away. At the end of the day, no matter how much you try to change your condition—get a new job, make new friends—nothing really changes. Skeletons emerge from the closet, certain ties refuse to break. The only way to truly start over, take all the lessons you’ve learned thus far and all the mistakes you’ve made and put them into practice, is to erase the slate completely and start from scratch. You have to walk away from all the drama and the complications, the rocky relationships and the old ghosts, and never look back.

I only hope one day I can do the same disappearing act.

-L

4 Comments:

Blogger DR said...

This is very accurate. I've tried a number of things though, moving back home after college...moving to nyc after i got sick of home...switching jobs after my first nyc job started sucking...having to gain a totally new group of friends after moving to nyc. Nothing's really worked though in terms of any fundamental change in myself. I used to entertain the idea of dropping everything and moving to Phoenix (Phoenix being just a paradigm for starting a new life), but I've currently found an at least acceptable rut, so I don't really think about that anymore. I guess it's just a matter of finding something you don't hate and then growing happily complacent. Good luck.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ive done it 3 times already. each time it's gotten better.it's not that hard to do. just pack your stuff and go. in fact im thinking of doing it again soon.

3:07 AM  
Anonymous km said...

it's definitely a sacrifice. especially with memories of crazy fun times and/or everyone around you flaunting their active social life, it makes u miss your own.. and even though you know it's for the better, there's a part of you that wishes you had it all and succeed. but hey, sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesnt. but best of luck if you ever try it.

*goes back to hiding in corner*

7:59 PM  
Blogger AK47 said...

Runaway...

Is it a good solution ...

Sometimes you don't have choice. You have to run (for your life when there is bomb dropping on your head).

But most of the time you have to face what's bothering you.

Never have regrets yes, but to cut tie loose...

Stick with what's bothering you otherwise what you're trying to run away will eat you (raw) sooner or later ...

Andy

5:22 AM  

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