"Come on, it will be fun," my daughter said. My marriage had been over for 10 years. Her mother had passed away five years ago. At 25 years of age, I thought my daughter was a bit of a latecomer to be playing the juvenile lead in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father." Anyway, she wore me down and I finally did join Facebook.
And there she was in a nanosecond. Lynette! "Facebook suggests you friend Lynette." Are you kidding? This is the first girl I ever had a crush on. She had awakened the first real stirrings of teenage angst and love in me. All of it unrequited! I've read that shy boys always fall first for shy girls; so, though suspecting, she never really knew exactly how I had felt about her.
Would she want to be my friend? Would she even have a fond (or any) memory of me? I worked the unfamiliar keystrokes for a friend request. She answered. It was positive.
Facebook "pokes" led to an exchange of e-mails on our private accounts. She was living in Phoenix and divorced. Buffalo was a distant, unpleasant memory. Eventually there were long phone conversations touching on kids, former spouses, relationships, families, careers and everything in between.
She was in real estate. Lynette even mentioned a client who had reconnected with someone on Facebook after many years and was now getting married.
It turned out that I would be taking a once-in-a-lifetime motorcycle tour through Arizona, Nevada and California, and we could see one another again after about 40 years. She picked me up at the Phoenix airport before I set out on my trip. Nobly I told her that despite our history, I had no romantic interest in the reunion.
Upon my return to Phoenix, we had dinner together several times and went on a few motorcycle rides. After one dinner, she invited me into her house. I confessed to having weakened and now did have a romantic interest. (I think it was a long walk the previous night on the Salt River that did it.) She said she would take her chances.
We spoke at length about a lot of things and then presto. We were in each other's arms like a couple of 18-year-olds. Just as quickly, and without consummation, it was over.
It turns out, she was intrigued by the thought that we could be immersed in one of those stereotypical Facebook reunion romances like her client had. She wondered about us. She had wanted to find out.
I thought nothing that cliched would ever happen to me; and wonderment had never served me well.
A few nights later over dinner she said, "chemistry."
"Chemistry?" I inquired, thinking she was talking about a long-forgotten high school class.
"Yes," she said. "We have none."
Although the stories are totally dissimilar, the whole thing seems to have been encapsulated by the titles of two novels by the same author. Thomas Wolfe wrote "You Can't Go Home Again" in response to criticism of a previous book, "Look Homeward, Angel."
I have some bad news for all you wistful Facebook miners and would-be miners for fairy tale endings to ancient unfinished stories. I suspect my experience is the norm and not the exception. You can't go home again. Especially if it is 2,000 miles away; and a place you've never been.
Larry S. Fallon, a retired West Seneca police officer and motorcycle enthusiast, lives in West Seneca.