Yesterday, while wandering around Target, I think I saw someone I haven’t seen in about eight years. It left me with odd feelings, out of place feelings, empty feelings, maybe even rattled feelings. I’ve been so zoned in on seeing this person that I even dreamed about it last night, the first actual dream I’ve remembered since I’ve been back in the United States.
I was walking down some aisle filled with stuff I don’t need, when I looked up and there she was. I smiled without knowing that I was smiling because apparently, my eyes are much, much smarter than I give them credit for because they recognized her long before my conscious self was able to catch up and recall her name and where I know her from. I wish I would have said hi, wish I would have stopped her, hugged her, asked her where life had taken her in the eight years since I saw her last, but I didn’t. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the lack of recognition I saw on her face that kept me from turning around and going after her.
Maybe that’s why I’m still thinking about this encounter today, maybe that’s why I dreamed about it last night – because she didn’t seem to recognize me. Have I changed so much in the past eight years that I am unrecognizable to old friends? Have my experiences, to include college, the deployment, my relationships, my aches, my happinesses changed me to the point that there is no hint of my 16 year old self left? Is this just part of the whole alleged growing up process I have to take part in? Or, even worse, was I not memorable enough to remember?
Regardless of all the thinking and pondering that this encounter has caused, I do wish I would have stopped her, talked to her, caught up with her. I think I’m irritated with myself for letting a chance to rekindle an old friendship pass me by, and maybe, just maybe, this encounter has also jolted me further into being home. I’m not sure how to explain it, but seeing an old face has definitely made me feel like I’m back, like I’ve finally come full circle.