Subtitle: How Facebook F’ed Up My Day, Again
In 1999, I met a guy. His name was Stowe. He was a bouncer at a bar, but he wasn’t at all like your average bouncer. He was a big guy (6’3″), but he had sort of an intellectual, nerdy look about him. I saw him across the room and immediately liked his face. I commented to my girlfriend that I thought he was cute, and it turned out that she knew him (he was friends with her boyfriend), so she introduced me. We talked a little – it’s hard to talk in a loud bar, plus he was supposed to be working – but he asked us to hang around and go get breakfast with him after the bar closed… at 4 a.m.
My girlfriend left. I waited for him.
We started dating immediately.
The odd thing was, we started dating in July, but we both knew from the get-go that our relationship had a pre-determined shelf life. At the end of August, I was moving to Wisconsin, and he was moving to Chattanooga to go back to college. So we never officially broke up, we just ended it when we both had to leave town. We saw each other a few times over the next few years. Weekend visits here and there, that kind of thing.
During my many single, lonely years (read: before I met Dave), I would fantasize about how if only we both lived in the same town… but we never did. And really, who knows if things would’ve worked out if we did live in the same town? I kind of doubt it. We never went through any true relationship trials because there was never a chance that it would turn into anything long-term.
We’ve stayed in touch off and on over the past few years. The last time we talked, it was after I moved to North Carolina. We had an IM conversation, he mentioned that he had relatives in the Raleigh area and he might come visit me the next time he was in town visiting them. I joked that I was sure my husband would love that idea. And he talked about his car collection. I teased him for being the douchebag who was all about cars. He laughed it off. I think he liked it when I gave him a hard time like that.
The new Facebook layout has a section where they list friends who you haven’t talked to for a long time, and suggest that you get back in touch with them. I saw Stowe’s name there, so I clicked on his profile just to see what he’s been up to lately. And it turns out, he died a few months ago.
I was stunned. I saw all of these “Rest in Peace, Stowe” messages on his wall, and I was confused. I thought maybe it was some elaborate practical joke and I just didn’t get it. So I googled his name and found his obituary. I have no idea how he died. He was 35 years old.
I don’t want to get all shmoopy and romantic about an ex-boyfriend here, because I don’t think it’s appropriate. But I just wanted to use my little space here to say: Stowe, you were a really great guy. I honestly did love you for a tiny moment there. I’m sorry I wasn’t better about staying in touch more often. And I’m really going to miss you. I hope heaven has a chess club.