Old pictures, dead friends and the Internet’s memory

Posted: June 11, 2014 by jennroig in Chronicles, English
Tags: , , , ,

In the Memory of Amanda, René, Ying…

Two strangers, many years ago

Two strangers, many years ago

I don’t know who those two girls are. By the look of the frames, they must be full grown up women by now. They could be mothers, or even grandmothers. One of them could be even dead for all I know.

I have found those pics in an open group in Facebook. Not just any group. A group that is named after my old high school, where I spent three years, between 14-17. So, that makes me feel a bit entitled to kind of steal the photos. Although, to be clear, I haven’t claimed any membership to that group.

I’m using these pictures that belong to perfect strangers to make a point: Internet, and very particularly social media, keep a sort of cruel memory.

At age 32, the notion that we are all mortals already struck me many years ago. I have lost some family. I have lost some friends.

But my grandparents weren’t Millennials, they had no Facebook Walls or LinkedIn Profiles or Skype accounts. However, my friends who are not here anymore, they did. Every year, for every new birthday, Skype sends a notification, Facebook shows a reminder, LinkedIn advices to say happy birthday and reconnect. Every new time, I dismiss those warnings feeling somehow sad.

I could “unfriend” them, or block them, or filter them from my feeds. I have considered it, but I am not capable. It feels like I could be offending them -or the memories that I have from them. So what I do is to click on their names and visit their profiles.

I read again the farewell messages. I scroll down to find their last post. I see some pictures where we are both tagged… And again I find myself wondering what if… they hadn’t gone. Where would they be, what would they be doing, whether we would still be friends.

It feels like they haven’t gone yet, not entirely, or maybe they’re back for a moment. Their ghosts linger in the Web. And I cry, just a little, just a shy tear.

Florence, 2010. With Ying and Gayatri, view from San Miniato al Monte

Florence, 2010. With Ying and Gayatri, view from San Miniato al Monte

  1. ale says:

    linda, en estos dias de fiebre futbolera, yo, por ejemplo, tambien peno por uno de mis mejores amigos q hace un anho decidio pirarse de este mundo. Y tb anda tdvia x ahi x las redees sociales recordandome to keep in touch.. te envio un beso grande y la alegria de leerte y la futura alegria de q nos tomemos unas birras juntos again. muaaam, alejo

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