I lost a friend today.

Well, not exactly lost - I know exactly where she is (alive and well I would hasten to add.) And the “friend” status was apparently in Facebook terms only. What caught me by surprise was the sense of loss from someone choosing to sever an ephemeral virtual connection based on a decades-old relationship. Who knew?

She and I had dated in high school, and I guess you could say she was my first serious girlfriend. Despite that, it turns out I didn’t actually know her very well. After dating maybe nine months, we parted ways for reasons I didn’t understand at the time and she indicated she didn’t remember now.

She reached out to me about a month ago and is somewhat responsible for my joining Facebook – I’d resisted before now figuring that johnsen.org covered my navel-gazing and being-findable-on-the-net needs. In the conversations that followed, I discovered that she’d grown up (a lot faster than me) to be a really cool person, and I was kicking myself for not having known her better then or in the years in between.

I guess the interest was one sided on my part – a brief “Goodbye” email today was the announcement that I wasn’t on the friends list anymore.

I can guess at reasons why – old boyfriends aren’t always appreciated by new husbands; our politics were (at least according to profile data) rather opposed; I was apt to try and make humorous commentary on status updates that was sometimes perceived as being in poor taste – my brand of humor is not for everyone. Still, I don’t believe I made any major social blunders, and I promptly apologized for the minor ones.

The irony is that I really don’t know any better today why she “broke up” with me this time than I did when we broke up 25 years ago.

Even though I am happily married for nearly 19 years to a wonderful woman who tolerates my faults exceedingly well and has done a remarkable job of civilizing me, the echoes of a 15-year-old’s emotions post-abrupt breakup are bouncing around my head. Annoying, that – I did not invite them in.

Echoes eventually decay; as do relationships left untended – and they can’t be revived later with great big piles of fertilizer apparently.

Goodbye, old friend.