Can you ever fill-in a lifetime with words
I was walking on the people mover at O’Hare, heading home, dinner waiting, when I caught a glimpse of a woman. She was on a restaurant stool overlooking foot traffic. I stopped walking and moved to the stationary lane to prolong my sighting. Could it be Sherri? Fifty years later? I got off and circled back, paused against a pillar for a better look at the silver haired woman staring at her iPad. Since she occasionally flicked the corner of the screen, I figured she was reading a story. Sherri always had her nose in a book, even on a date…unless I complained. She slid her hand over to her drink, absently sliding her thumb down the glass. Probably Coke with a shot of cherry syrup. Cherry Coke for Sherri. Her plate with a bit of crust was pushed to the side, the pickle untouched. Of course. It was her. The last time we saw each other was the summer after freshman college. And now, look at her. She has aged so gracefully. She gives the lie to those stupid online memes that say, ‘remember so-and-so? You’ll gasp when you see her now.’ As if we aren’t in on the cosmic joke that we change as we age, that we don’t stay 25 forever. But my, she’s still lovely. Sherri.
She looks at her watch, then tucks the iPad into her purse before fishing out some bills. She stands, not looking my way. Do I want to call out, get her attention, followed by exclamations, hugs and ‘Oh my gods?’ Very tempting after being jostled for hours with waves of anonymous people in rows, in aisles, in bathroom and luggage queues to finally run into someone you know…used to know, so many years ago.
But no. Better not. It would be too little and too much. Too little time to really explore. Too much left unsaid. Hell, we would have to be transatlantic seatmates, talking the whole time to even begin to replay our separate lives, our pairings and progeny, schooling and careers. No. Better not. Like passing a bakery and its inviting smells. You need to resist overindulgence at our age. But if she recognizes me as we pass…