Remember that ex-friend I wrote about? The one I had been close to since college, whom I traveled with to Amsterdam and Paris? The one who was my bridesmaid and who was there for me through all the stuff with my ex? The one who in the fall of 2005, after more than a decade of friendship, seemingly for no reason at all, just stopped talking to me?
I finally saw her.
Not on purpose, not planned. She lives in the city, as far as I know, or at least still works here. She had an apartment in Murray Hill, and whenever I was in that area, I thought I might run into her.
Well, I didn’t run into here there but two blocks from my apartment. In a restaurant MB and I go to all the time.
We were sitting there next to this large party. The waitress came to get our order, and at the same time, another member of that party arrived, an Asian woman. A guy, who appeared to be her boyfriend, got up so that she could sit, promptly getting in the way of our waitress. We gave our orders, and then I casually glanced over. . .and saw that the Asian woman was SL.
Ex-friend. Dumper. The disappearing act. Right next to us!
My heart started pounding like crazy. What do I do? Did she see me? Do I say something? MB said something to me, I don’t even know what. Oh my paper. How was my paper going? What was my paper about again? I could barely remember.
Finally, I mouthed to him, “I know that girl. She dumped me.” Then I leaned across the table and whispered the details to him. He glanced at her and chuckled at me for freaking out.
It’s not funny!
For the rest of the evening, I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I could barely even eat. I kept glancing at her, wondering if she had seen me. I wasn’t sure. At one point, I think she was covering her face with her left hand, the hand facing me, and saw a ring on her third finger. A while ago I had found an online wedding gift registry associated with her name, and for some reason thought it might be a different SL. But thinking of that, and seeing the ring, and the general appearance of the dude next to her (of course I had Googled his name too and found his Facebook profile – I need a different hobby), I put two and two together.
Then I began to think, Why not mess with her? When MB went to the bathroom, I kept staring in her direction, sort of willing her to look my way. She wouldn’t. She wouldn’t even look up from her food to talk to the people next to her.
It’s hard to say if she was avoiding my gaze. She could get kind of antisocial.
I never said anything to her, and she never said anything to me. MB and I left before they did.
I was weirded out for the rest of the night, and promptly texted ES. (“Girls,” MB said, shaking his head.) ES was appreciatively as freaked out as I was. After all she knew SL too, from the wedding and Amsterdam and visits in Boston.
I went back online and tried to find more info. Nothing new really. A while ago I had found SL’s name in a newsletter for, of all things, a Quaker soceity. I thought, SL’s a Quaker now? and dismissed it. Well, I found her name again in another newsletter, along with her presumed husband’s.
This was weird to me, not so much because of the Quaker-ness, but since SL wasn’t religious AT ALL. She grew up in a traditional Chinese household and was never Christian, though I know not all Quakers identify with being Christian.
Anyway, my head was spinning, and like I do to get a handle on things, I made a list. In the last 3 years, SL had:
- Gotten her MBA (found that online) when that fall she wasn’t even in a program yet
- Gotten married. That fall she didn’t have a boyfriend, nor was she even dating.
- Became a Quaker. Like I said, when I knew her she wasn’t even religious.
To me those seem like such huge changes in a short amount of time though I guess I’ve been on a similar trajectory having started a graduate program and met someone and moved in with him. No religious conversion though.
Hopefully now I’ve gotten my obsession out of my system. I have a vague idea of what SL is up to now, and I know what running into her is like. Maybe now I can move on from this silliness.
You should be a private investigator!
I love your internet stalkerness, it’s totally what I do too :)
The Internet makes stalking way too easy and much more entertaining eh? Considering the amount of poking around I do, I definitely find I try to be more cautious about what’s out there on me.
It would have been funny if you had “dropped” something that happened to roll towards your ex-friend’s table.
I think it’s really brave of you to write about this because I also know the pain of seeing someone who used to be a friend. You are definitely not alone in knowing more than you “should” about someone. :) I also hope you can move on now that you’ve had this experience.