Walking around the house while the rasam bubbled merrily on the stove, I decided to scroll through my contact list for a particular person. As I scrolled I realized with increasing horror that I had over a thousand entries. Sure a few were duplicate but a vast majority were relics from my past.
Figuring I had time to kill until dinner, I patiently clicked each entry pausing to figure when was the last time either of us had called or emailed. Hitting delete seemed therapeutic so I did. With each passing name, a faint ghost from the past emanated, touching me as he or she passed. Some lingered before moving away. Some stared me down daring me to hit delete.
School, college, many workplaces, MBA, online friends, blog friends, grocery store friends, first friends in this country, call-in-the-middle-of-the-night friends, sob-my-heart-out friends, may be useful someday acquaintances, well-connected people, no idea who they are entries. I relentlessly clicked delete until the list stood at a respectable two hundred and fifty plus.
What I was not prepared for is the roiling of my stomach, the unease, the sorrow, the sadness at having severed zombie connections. A part of my brain argued that if I had not heard from a person in over twenty years, it is likely I will never. A part of me demurred. What if?
For years, the what-ifs have had me clinging on to notes, emails, voice messages from a long gone past. Today, I set them free. I set myself free.