Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Chance meeting on the first day of the year
I had absolutely no plans to go into the CBD this morning, but the tram was coming and there I was stepping onto it, knowing full well that most, if not all shops would be closed. I walked from the Elizabeth Street stop through Degreaves Street and then over the street to Brunetti’s where I ordered a coffee and sat down. Coming up the steps with two young children and an older woman was a man that I hadn’t seen for fourteen years. We recognized each other immediately and he said ‘Oh my God I was just thinking about you a few days ago. Since he lives in Queensland and it was his last day in Melbourne visiting his mother, we both agreed that it was amazing that we had run into each other. If you think about it long enough our meeting was dependent upon so many variables, the time the tram arrived, the pace at which I walked, my decision and his to have coffee at Brunetti’s and maybe other things from his point of view that I am unaware of, that enabled us both to converge on the almost exact spot. He mirrored my thoughts exactly when he said that these things always happened to him and he was constantly surprised when they did. Sean and I worked together and I remembered him fondly as the person who was ‘on my side’ - supportive, generous in spirit and always willing to listen. As we spoke of the past, the difficulties of working in that particular establishment and the camaraderie that he and I enjoyed I realized that perhaps what draws people towards an exact point in time and place is an underlying desire to know that those who were there for us in the past are alright, that life has been good to them, that they are loved because they were so good to us. I would never had lasted in that job if it wasn’t for Sean and after speaking with him this morning I understood that in some way I was also that support person for him as well and, I would never have known that. I felt exquisitely happy seeing him and he expressed similar sentiments, but what was it that drew such emotion? Could it be that we miss people that we have cared for, but life gets in the way and we package away any desire that we have for past times (when we were different, when we were insecure) somewhere in our deep recesses of our psyche because the feeling of missing someone can be all consuming, or is it that the discomfort of working for that place was so unpleasant that I buried all the good memories along with the bad? It was a bitter sweet meeting and I had a little cry on the way home in the tram. A few wonderful people come into and inhabit our lives and they disappear, or do we disappear for them, whatever - it is such a joy when they reappear, albeit briefly to remind us that we are thought of, and somewhere in the back of our minds we also remember them.