I was at the post office the other day and saw two people greet each other across the parking lot with a half-wave and surprised smile of recognition. It made me realize that there's something I miss by living so far from where I grew up, beyond the closeness to family and friends. I miss those unexpected encounters with the past.
My history in Memphis begins eight and a half years ago. I was, at that point, pretty much a fully formed adult - married, employed, on the brink of home ownership. Aligning myself with the Memphis music scene proved that my youthful foolishness wasn't completely expired, but for the most part, the only differences between 1999-SAM and 2007-SAM are a mortgage and stretch marks.
When we were in Minnesota over the holidays, the first person I saw when we walked into church (the church where I took first communion and was confirmed, where I taught Sunday School and worked for the Youth Director) was Heather. Or as I considered her during high school, my romantic doppelganger. It seemed we were always interested in, or were being shown interest by, the same boys throughout our adolescence. From the felon to the missionary to the moody, introspective Lutheran, our dating lives kept jumping across each others' (with her generally showing greater success). I hadn't seen her in years, and then there she was, sporting a mom-bob very much like my own, chasing her toddler around the fellowship hall. We said happy hellos and made family introductions, then politely made our way into the sanctuary. Where I managed to sit for about ten minutes before Mr. Baby started making his Pagan leanings known. As we were bouncing around the narthex (yes, I'm going to use as many church architectural terms as possible in one post; kiss my flying buttress), Heather's husband came out with their daughter. It was sweetly pleasing to see that the girl who had dated some of the hottest yet surliest boys at WHS was married to a man who looked and acted like a kindly chemistry teacher.
I miss seeing those changes, seeing how the people who formed the earliest part of my life have turned out. And I miss being around people who knew me when I was in those formative years, people who saw every little triumph and ridiculous failure that made me who I am. Heather probably read the desperate letter I wrote to Moody Lutheran, and therefore knows a little bit about me that no one in Shelby County ever will. Those little bits of me are all over the Great Lakes states. Some days this blog is an excuse to pull a few of them together and hold them out in my hands to my current friends and say, "See? This is why." But as much as I miss those bursts from the past, I am nothing but grateful that they got me where I am right now.