It's inevitable that any two people who were best friends for nine years will occasionally be seized by rare but overwhelming urges to look each other up and find out how one another are doing. I confess to having once (last year) had my mouse cursor hovering over the "send" button on a pseudonymous email just to provoke a response and remind myself of what hearing from Chris would be like. However, I never did actually click that "send" button, and now I think it's I who has been tracked down and stalked.
Attempting to disguise yourself with someone who was your best friend for years tends to be rather dangerous. I remember once in high school, our creative writing class did some silly "group poetry" thing where each person wrote one line and folded over the paper so that only their one line was visible and then passed it on to the next person, who would look only at that one line before writing the following line, re-folding it and passing it on. Well, I got stuck with an incredibly stupid line to follow up and I didn't want to be in any way associated with the miserable line I wrote, so I disguised my handwriting in what I thought was a quite convincing manner. But later when the full poem was Xeroxed for the class, Chris just looked at me and pointed to the line I'd written and asked, "Why did you try to disguise your handwriting like that?"
Telling that story makes me happy. There's a lot of affection left in me for the things Chris used to be, and if we were to associate with each other again even now I'm sure there would be still some good times before the bad times came back. But I still think it would end badly again. It ended badly a whole lot of times before I finally gave up on it, and I don't think I want to invest my energy in any more bad endings. My life without Chris isn't broken anymore, so I don't think that attempting to "fix" it now would be wise.
But here's the full transcript of my conversation with the mysterious stranger, whose AIM name shall remain anonymous.
QBC 101: huh?
XYZ: lemonade is nothing but acidity, it's very bad for the stomach.
QBC 101: who are you?
[pause of 8 minutes and 33 seconds]
QBC 101: apparently you are an extremely slow typist. this makes conversation with you likely to be boring.
QBC 101: how did you find me?
XYZ: i was enjoying a post-prandial candy cigarette.
QBC 101: ok, you can come back someday when you feel like answering questions.
QBC 101: or not.
QBC 101: bye