Saturday, August 09, 2008

My Network of People

In case you haven't realized it, my summer job is more of a cult than anything else. The first time I was employed by that organization was in 1991 when they paid me and another 17-year-old roughly minimum wage to write grants to be submitted to large government funding entities (while the permenant staff was off doing real work of some kind).

Really what this post is about is I'm wondering what happened to Maja. We should have met at some point in the very early 90s through this group -- either through our work or through the cult-like network. In part it's my fault for being disconnected. It's my fault for not applying to Harvard and not living in Cambridge like everyone else. I've never been able to figure out the right choices that would really make me happy. So I didn't end up meeting Maja until around the time I was finishing college (she was finishing at Harvard), when we were roommates at a summer job. We worked with a large handful of cult-members, and still others cycled through our apartment, either as actual roommates or sleeping in my room when I wisely drove many hours away to hang with k and foolishly drove many hours away to spend time with a boy who spent most of his time smoking pot while meandering towards a degree from the state university.

I must admit that I had a bit of a crush on one of the guys who we knew that summer. I forget if he was a year older than us or not. Soon I realized that the reason that he was spending so much time around our apartment was because he liked Maja, and the two of them began dating. They were such a great couple that I couldn't be jealous.

My ties to the cult loosened somewhat when I left first New England and then the East Coast, and I started to fall out of touch with them. The rumor mill told me that they ended up going to graduate school together at the University of Knitting. It further suggested that they may have even gotten jobs together, but that was unsubstantiated. It was easy to believe what I'd been told because it was such the perfect story. The good couple of good people ends up living in the same city doing meaningful work despite both having PhDs.

Within the past year, I learned that the story wasn't true. He's married to someone else who went to graduate school at the University of Knitting. He's facebook friends with one of my facebook friends. Maja is nowhere to be found on the internet. Even when I check the sign-in-with-a-password-secret-directory, all I can find of her is an out-of-date hotmail address.

In a story that spans well over a decade, I only have a few, sparse facts from the beginning and the end. Nothing about what happened in the middle. If I were writing a work of fiction, I would fill it in my own way. I'd borrow details from my failed relationship with the pot-smoking boy. Maybe I'd see how things unfold between my co-author and his sometimes-long-distance girlfriend and use that to fill in my story. And I'll look from time to time on the internet in hopes of finding out what really happened to Maja.