The most intense interview I conducted has resurfaced. It's strange because I have been thinking about her a lot lately. I looked at my spam folder, and she's added me as a contact through "reunion.com". I didn't even realize I'd joined this site...probably many years ago, when we were all very naive about joining various internet groups, I signed up when someone I knew added me. Possibly, in fact, certainly, pre-Facebook, MySpace and Friendster. It just feels incredibly weird to have her a) think of me (though the reflexive nature of voyeurism seems to be extremely relevant right now in my life -- watching people, watch me, watch them...etc...so Alice in Wonderlandesque) and b) to have her actively type my name into some search engine and pull me out.
A fellow grad student ended up changing her cell phone number when a woman in Baltimore would call her regularly to ask for financial support. This motivated me to get a second phone for research purposes, so none of my research participants have my main cell phone. It's a problematic way to distance myself from participants, but it also is a way to maintain control. I'm less good at the full-immersion aspects of anthro, as I'm wary even in the "real world" of my own life about keeping people in very distinct circles and trying to create limited access (though that rarely works).
I'm going to continue to pretend that I never saw the email, but I suspect she may call or email at some point. And in theory, I should go back to the mother's group, next time I'm in LA (which may coincide with the monthly meetings). I may see her again, but her attachment to me makes me uneasy. It sounds like vanity to call it attachment, but that's what it was. And I find it painful, too, to feel so hyper-aware of her yearning.