Months To Years Fall 2018 Months To Years Fall 2018 - Page 20

Eventually, I unfollowed Jessica. I didn’t just dislike Thoughts of the person will be triggered by an old picture, gardening; the truth is, I assumed that her posts meant a food, a scent, or a mood. Maybe a whole part of your she had lost her edge. I wrote her off; I thought less of her. life reminds you of one special person. And someday, you I conflated who she was with her Facebook persona, and might reconnect by chance or by effort, memories intact. why not? That’s all I had. The egregious mistake was not But if you don’t find each other again, there is still love. To me unfollowing her, as I believed in the moments after protect our story, I should have let Jessica go. her death, but in exporting our friendship to Facebook in the first place and then judging her based on a software- You can’t keep everyone you’ve ever loved, nor is clinging mediated performance. to acquaintances honest. Relational maintenance takes *** As I dug through the remnants of my virtual experience with Jessica, I knew the analysis mattered; I had living friends caught in the same crossfire. So, did Facebook deserve a front seat to my life, and death? No. time. There are physical realities in play: hours in the day; minutes in the hour. A friendship can’t be sustained with comments, likes, and emojis. Human beings need conversation, love and the warmth of a smile given not captured. We are not efficient or convenient. Friendships can’t be fostered en masse. *** My favorite memory of Jessica happened before Facebook The archaeology of my virtual friendship with Jessica infiltrated our friendship. revealed that Facebook wasn’t a godsend, keeping us close, it was an intrusion. Instead of remembering Jessica It happened the summer we knew everything about each naturally, triggered by a song perhaps, I rolled my eyes other. It was the middle of the night in New York City. At at her gardening posts. I rolled my eyes at one of my Jessica’s insistence, we made our way to Central Park and most precious friends. The Facebook feed told me what climbed up onto the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, on to think of her. It directed and narrated my memories. It top of the giant mushroom. We took in Eva Cassidy’s Time contaminated my inner life. After Time album, heads adjoined with a set of earbuds. Our eyes rested on the lamp lit pathways of the most Had she not died, authentic reconnection was unlikely beautiful park in the world. Tipsy and young, we leaned because our online dynamic had shifted my perceptions into each other. The music made the whole park feel like a of her for the worse. Artificially “keeping” Jessica killed our living, breathing piece of art, our huddled bodies included. friendship; replacing memories with scroll. If relationships have peaks, this was ours. The view was Contrary to popular belief, attaching someone to you transformative. It changed me, became part of who I online is worse than losing touch. Things change, chapter’s am, even after the night ended, even after the source was end, people move, life unfolds. Losing touch honors this. gone. No longer jeopardized by Facebook’s counter- It’s a kindness, not a slight. Losing touch invites a person evidence, the memory’s truths are secure and inside of away from your daily life and into your inner life, into me now: You are loved and known. The world is at your your memory. Your mindscape is powerful and vivid, full fingertips. Life is magical. of meanings to be deciphered. You can love from there. Monica Yancey is a professor of communication studies in Houston, Texas, and is captivated by the continued smartphone boom. The sudden death of a sibling in childhood sparked a lifelong interest in grief and death. She volunteered at the Children’s Grief Center in New Mexico for several years. Her work has been published in Salt Lake City Weekly, Sinkhole Magazine, and Offcite. 20