For years I've typed into Internet search engines the names of people I knew long ago–high school friends and sweethearts, college girlfriends, the like.
Some people just can't be found. Not everyone's wired. Not everyone does something to be listed somewhere, somehow on the Internet.
Today I found someone.
Junior year she sat next to me in Spanish II. It was homeroom and first period, and I'd sit there before class began reading Star Trek paperbacks or working on homework I should really have done at home. She sat next to the window, the one that overlooked the gravel parking lot.
She dated a guy, a senior in Elkins, one county over. He treated her like dirt. She'd ask my advice, what to do about this or that. I had no advice to give–I liked my neighbor's best friend, the captain of the cheerleading squad, a right bitch who wouldn't give me the time of day or even acknowledge that I drew breath. I was young, though, barely fifteen, and at fifteen it's normal to like people out of one's league.
She was funny. She was flighty. She was a dreamer. She was ethereal.
I loved her. I never told her. At fifteen the words weren't there.
After graduation I never saw her again. I moved away, never went back to my hometown. There was never a reason to.
But I never stopped thinking of her. I'd wonder how she was, what she had done with her life, if she were happy, if she'd found a guy who didn't treat her like dirt.
Today I turned up two hits on her name on Google. Two. Both very recent, from within the past month. One listed her name as a participant in a software conference, the other listed contact information.
There is, of course, the possibility that it's someone else, someone with the same name. I think it a low probability, though–she had a oddly spelled name, and this name has the same oddity.