The Search for Beckie Taylor

Friendship lived and lost.

It’s been my obsession for the past week to find my friend Beckie from high school. She had this wild and mysterious edge to her. She would greet people in this slightly demented voice with the words “What’s up, bitch?” And she used a word that she invented, “abaza,” whenever she was confused, curious, or excited.

She and I used to spend hours debating politics and art. She was one of the few people I could tell everything to because I knew she wouldn’t use any of it against me, but I also knew that she would be straight with me and wouldn’t pull any punches. When she left for Saint Mary’s College of Maryland at the end of our senior year, I fully expected to see her again. I haven’t. Aside from a few post 9/11 e-mails, I haven’t even talked to her.

I don’t know why I suddenly realize I miss her now. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m getting married in May. Maybe it’s that I want to shock her with the fact that the Pagan rebel she knew in high school is now studying to become an Episcopal priest. Or maybe it’s just that there’s something familiar there that’s been missing from my life, something that pulls away every time a close friendship dies of inertia. Maybe I’ve had that happen to too many of my friendships. Maybe that’s why I’ve been on Friendster and Reunion.com. And why I’ve Googled her name six different ways. I even Googled the word “abaza,” which I discovered is something related to a Turkish bath (probably not what she meant by it).

Beckie, if you’re out there, I’m doing well and I want you to know that. But I miss you.

Article © 2005 by Jonathan Ratican