A couple of fleeting glances followed by a “Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere?” is the sort of white lie of a question I can imagine using to chat up an attractive stranger. What I have a harder time at, however, is conjuring up in my mind the image of someone else pulling the same routine on me.
I happened to notice her when she turned toward me for the first time. Curious looking, and her curiosity apparent, I noticed her steal another couple of glances before she popped the question.
I didn’t stop the conversation upon telling her I didn’t know her. I couldn’t. I wanted to know; wanted her to know. Moments thereafter are mostly a blur,1 but I recall pang of bereavement that washed over me when it dawned on me that she’d parted, and I wasn’t aware of her name.
The pang soon gave way to panic. The panic intensified to horror. The horror soon collapsed to resignation.
Too busy dejectedly-dismissing the encounter as a cruel reminder of the condition of my life, it’s times like this when I don’t have much faith in second chances. The gods seem to have disagreed with me though, for later that day, I ran into her again. Inexplicably, at an entirely different part of town.
In retrospect, it’s no wonder why. The gods enjoy a good chuckle just as much as the rest of you, and know me better than I’d like them to.
I still don’t know her name.
1However, I do vaguely recall getting to hear such gems as:
“I like the way you wear your hair. Do you like your hair that way? Of course you do, otherwise you wouldn’t wear it like that.”
(Imagine that being said in a rapid, pause-less string of words.)