Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On pins and needles

I value friendships. One of my great regrets in life is the people I've known who I can no longer find.

I continually use the internet to find people who once meant something to me.

Two of my closest friends were brothers, twins. I must have spent several hours a day with them.

I worked at a 24 hour athletic center. It had tennis courts, pools, racquetball, an ice rink, pretty much everything you could ask for. I worked the late night shift, from 11 pm to 7 am. Other than a janitor who came in during part of the evening I was the entire staffing.

The twins came in and worked out every night. They were contestants in Mr. Teenage America, the bodybuilding contest. We became friends from chatting when they would check in to the club.

I was transitioning from fundamentalist Christian to rationalist at the time. I had just left the Bible school I was attending. And I was moving on to a more secular university at that time. I started to take part-time classes at Purdue. The twins also were taking classes there.

I would see them either in the evening, or they came to the gym in the early morning. At 7 am I'd head home to get about 3 or 4 hours sleep. I'd get up, head to university for some classes, meet up with the boys there and then go to their home for lunch and then back home for a few hours more of sleep before heading back to work.

This sort of schedule went on for some time. If you found one of us, you found all three of us. The boys were identical twins and, other than their mother, I was probably the only one who could tell them apart immediately.

I moved to another state and continued college there. I lost track of them. The obviously left home and moved on with their lives. I lived in various parts of the U.S. and eventually the world. I didn't have internet access until after I had lost track of them.

Now I am fairly confident that I found one via the internet. There was a photo, and while he looks older, it appears to be him. I hesitated, but I did send him a note to see if I'm right.

But I am worried. Having looked for them online for years, I've seen traces of this brother several times, but without enough information for me to contact him. But the other has seemed to completely disappeared, and he was the one who my closest friend. And that has given me a foreboding feeling. Perhaps it is nothing, but I've thought that I should have found some shreds that he existed. Yet there are none.

I was able to view a page set up by the one brother on a social networking site, but there is no link to his twin. Ever since I've been searching for them I have had this unsettling feeling that I'll learn some bad news. I hope not.

Perhaps he won't respond, though I don't know why that would be. I compared an old photo of him from a newspaper article I had kept. Funny thing is the paper had their names reversed, and I can still tell from that photo who was who.

I look at that photo and realize that so many years have gone by and that there are entire lives that they lived that I know nothing about. I just don't know if I really am ready to find out.