My high school yearbooks are lost to me, fumbled somewhere over the past five years, during the course of one of my moves between apartments and cities. It gives me a very small pinprick of pain when I think about that — or about many lost things from my career at Gaithersburg High School — and then I push it out of my mind and try and think of more present matters.
Once in a while though, I’ll wake up in the morning having dreamt about some classmate or other that I might not have thought about since practically the day I took my diploma in hand. Try as I might, I can’t fathom why he or she made such a memorable guest appearance in my dreams; there’s almost no tangible connection that I can bring to mind, and yet I swear that, for a time between late night television and the morning alarm, they were as vivid to me as if I had passed them in the cafeteria the day before.To be honest, such occurrences are not always random or without meaning. Perhaps once every twelve months for the past seven years or so, in my dreams I’ve happened across a girl from my graduating class named Karlee. She was the pretty red-headed girl that I knew since the seventh grade, that I always found attractive but never asked out, that I never knew well enough to keep in touch with after I left suburban Maryland, though I’m pretty sure I wanted to.
She shows up in unexplained places under inexplicable circumstances. In a coffee bar, at a shopping arcade, in a gymnasium, halfway across the river on the F train into Brooklyn. Sometimes it’s the day after high school, or perhaps fifteen years after graduation; she’s young or she’s old, sometimes mindful of me and sometimes completely oblivious, and once she was about to become some other man’s wife, which, by now, is surely not just something I dreamt up.
When I woke up, I did a search on Google for her, but even the finest search engine of the 21st century came up with nothing, no way to reach back into personal history. And so I wonder now, I really wonder, what she wrote in my high school yearbook.