I found out from my Mom in the form of, ‟Didn’t you used to know this girl. I saw her obituary a couple of weeks ago.”
It has probably been thirty-five years since I’ve seen K.C. I occasionally run into her older brother and ask about both her and her sister. But I haven’t had any real contact with her since right after high school. The last time I saw her she introduced me to her boyfriend, who I know she married not long after. After that, I don’t have any real idea what happened in her life. I think the first marriage didn’t last. I think she remarried.
I think, but I don’t really know.
She’s been gone from my life for a very long time.
But in high school she was among that first group of friends who I ever considered to be family. She was someone I felt a bond with. Someone I loved in the intense ways of friendship that in the years since I have felt for many people (and I am thankful and blessed to be able to say that).
We didn’t date. I never kissed her or held her hand. For a time she dated my friend, G.I., and along with our friend B.K. (who I sometimes thought I was dating but I don’t think she ever perceived it that way), the four of us had many adventures. At the time I couldn’t imagine my life without any of them. They were Forever Friends. Some of the first.
I lost track of all of them, and it happened very quickly. Our lives simply went in different directions and it seems that high school and proximity were all that really held us together.
There was a time when G.I.’s family made me part of theirs. I spent hours at his house, went on family vacations with them, was the object of his little sister’s first major crush. I have nothing but warm feelings and memories of all of them. G.I. moved and the last time I saw him felt awkward. We just didn’t have anything in common to talk about. I’m friends with some of his family on Facebook, so I could find him easily. But I haven’t.
B.K. met a guy at work and got married. She moved into the house she grew up in and settled into her life. I ran into her in the early 90s. I went to her house and had dinner and a great time getting caught up. I haven’t seen her since. No hard feelings between us. We just live in different universes.
I missed K.C.’s wedding. I sent her a card. In it, in addition to wishing her luck and congratulations, I wrote some lyrics from the song, Sail Away, Sweet Sister, from the Queen album The Game. At the time they seemed to say the things I wanted to say to her.
She was 52 when she died. In my brain she's still 18.
Time. Lost companions. People I loved who loved me back, even though none of us are those people anymore. Chapters and moments that make us who we are. Never lost entirely, just faded pieces of the puzzle of our lives.