I had been looking for her, on and off, for years - ever since the internet really. We were at school together and we were friends. We weren't close friends, but we had more of a relationship than the word acquaintance allows for. In Year 9 or thereabouts she just disappeared. One day she was there and the next she was gone. No explanations, no reasons, just an empty desk and a lot of kids like me wondering why.
Much, much later, and a little more worldly-wise than I was at 14, I pieced together some of the bits. Some of the things that she had shared with me pointed to a history of abuse...but at 13 I wasn't even dimly aware that such things happened. Unfortunately my friend was all too aware and for ghastly, unimaginable reasons.
Those suspicisions were confirmed through her sister, who is somewat famous, and makes no bones about what happened to her little sister.
Filling in the gaps, I suspected that the abuse had come to light somewhere around Year 9 and that resulted in her leaving so suddenly and with so few explanations.
Last week I found her.
It was one of those serendipitous findings where a search for someone else, lead to a weird website with all-too familiar names on it, which lead to a website with our Year 10 photos on it, which lead to the comments section on that website and BAM! there she was, but with another name.
I googled the name and found her.
Now, I wonder, is the past truly another country and you can't go back? For a week the words have been swirling around in my head "I don't know if you remember me, but...", "Our lives couldn't be more different now, but, I wonder if...?"
Looking back on that photo, and all the names from my past, stirring up long-forgotten memories and a world that existed long before the me I am now.
Can you go back? Or is it all best left quietly reposing in the past?