Semi-Significant Moments in Googleland; Results of My Top Three Searches
By Emily Franklin
I learn D. is married, that his sister is still childless, that his parents had relocated to North Carolina. All this I ascertain by way of his mother’s obituary, whose face I cannot recall. Just that she wrote to me after D. broke up with me (on the phone, the night before the SATs), that her sons called her Fred for no good reason, that she smelled of syrup, that she died young. In suburban Connecticut my first love lives without his mother, the funeral held on his birthday.
Locating A.’s whereabouts requires no filtration. Her unusual last name is highlighted on the screen on the first link. She is now a gossip/society writer for a glossy Hollywood magazine. With her head tilted to the right, her publicity photo is remarkably similar to the second grade school picture I unearthed in an old journal; Fair Isle sweater, hair straight and gleaming, eyes ahead; sure.
Finding T. takes minimal effort. Her father, a well-known Canadian actor, has passed away and articles about his life and family are abundant. One grammatical error keeps showing, however: survived by son named T. When I locate the same misattributed pronoun in each piece, the truth clicks. Then, the website. T. is now an artist, and a male, and – in his words (and isn’t this what we hope to find of our search engine queries?) – happy.
Emily Franklin is the author of Liner Notes (Simon Schuster, 2003) and, forthcoming from Penguin, a series, , The Principles of Love. Her linked short story collection, Early Girls, will be published by William Morrow in 2006. Her poetry, fiction, and articles have been published in The Boston Globe, Pindeldyboz, Small Spiral Notebook, and Literary Mama among others. She is on the staff of National Public Radio's "Car Talk" show.