I’d met Sharon less than a year earlier. I noticed her in my music history class and learned she’d been aware of me too. She said that if I hadn’t started talking to her soon she was going to walk up to me and say “I’d like to start a conversation with you.” As my diary entry indicates, we both felt a strong connection – so much so that even though we didn’t know each other very well, sharing an apartment seemed like a good idea.
It was not. It’s hard to live with somebody you want to impress. I was intimidated by Sharon. She knew more than I did about literature, poetry, and life. She was slim, beautiful, and ethereal – exactly how I wanted to look. Before long, I got on her last nerves. She told me I was the most unabashedly self-centered person she’d ever met. That this life must be an early incarnation for me because I was so un-evolved. We didn’t last a quarter before she asked me to move out.
After that, I felt so awkward when I saw her on campus that I avoided her. We lost touch before we graduated. For the next 35 years, I felt like a failure every time she crossed my mind. I wondered how her life turned out but her common first and last name made finding her impossible.
And then UCLA published their alumni directory. I looked her up and discovered she lived less than 5 miles away. Most likely we shopped at the same grocery store. I took a deep breath and picked up the phone. The worst that could happen was she’d say she didn’t want to talk to me.
She knew who I was immediately. We met for lunch and something amazing happened. We connected – we could talk to each other – on an intimate level that’s impossible to reach with more recent acquaintances. Maybe it’s because we knew each other during such formative years. Maybe our fearlessness about sharing intimate confidences 35 years ago made it easier to share today. Maybe we’ve always been connected, whether through a past life or something else.
Whatever it is, if I’d allowed fear to stop me from calling her, we would’ve missed the unique and special friendship we now enjoy. If there’s a similar lost connection in your life, I urge you to pick up the phone. What’s the worst that can happen?