Yes, that sentence actually came out of my mouth.
Let me backtrack…
A year or two ago, I got a friend request from someone who also went to my high school. Nothing unusual in that — except that I have no memory of this woman.
Here’s the thing: PTSD can affect memory. And a lot of pre-Guillain-Barre stuff is kind of hazy. But I remember my friends and their names. I even remember a lot of people that I had multiple classes with.
She, however, remained a cipher.
We did chat a couple of times on Facebook, but she never said, “Gee, you remember when?” And, as I discovered, there is no good way to ask how you know someone — at least, not without letting on that you, say, don’t know her.
Fast forward to three weeks ago.
She posted on Facebook about not being able to go on. I briefly referenced this in my post about things not to say to a suicidal person.
I wrote a far too long reply saying I’d been suicidal, I basically understood, etc etc. I also included my email and phone number in case she needed to talk.
Obviously she called, or this post would be kind of pointless.
What’s important is that when she called she was at a cousin’s place in Phoenix. Ruh-roh!
I made sympathetic noises while she recounted some of recent life upheavals. Then there was this awkward pause. One which somehow caused me to offer to meet her for a drink.
It seemed like the polite thing to do, though I don’t recall any Miss Manners columns about helping people you don’t remember.
The point is, I felt bad for her and I wanted to help… apparently.
Tim wasn’t thrilled, since it nixed any chance of a date night. Which is how I came to say, “I’m sorry, honey. But someone I don’t know needs me!”
That’s when the absurdity of the situation truly hit home. I somehow felt obligated to go out, meet up with and support someone I had no memory of.
The thing is, she clearly remembered me. She even referred to me as someone she used to hang out with. And that’s about when the guilt kicked in.
I actually had a good time. She’s very nice, but I still have no clue about who she was in high school.
My mom assures me that people can exaggerate connections — especially in retrospect — but frankly I don’t think I was cool enough or popular enough for that.
I guess it’s moot because she went back to New Mexico. To the life that she spent three hours saying she couldn’t stand anymore. Of course, I may get another Phoenix-based call if she once again reaches a breaking point.
Either way, it’s amusing anecdote, I guess. But I still blame you, Mom.
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