I have often wondered how it is that I don't run into more people I know on a more regular basis. I did attend a small, private high school, so perhaps that has something to do with it. But what about the people I used to work with? Or went to college with? It must be because I live in the most populated area in the United States. Either that, or people don't want to say hello and they hide behind their coats or whatever when I walk by. For my ego's sake, I'll stick to the population theory.
But just two weeks ago, I was sitting in a Talbot's store, waiting for my mom to finish looking at the stuff on sale. Which meant we were at the store for over an hour, but that is just how it goes when shopping with my mother. I had settled in for a long wait, as I was already done looking myself, and was ensconced in a comfy chair. A woman walked up to me and said, "Did you go to St. Blank High School?" I looked at her face and immediately recognized her, although I couldn't remember the name. We hadn't had any classes together, just homeroom. She hadn't remembered my name either. I just have one of those faces that people can't forget, though, ya know? And keep the snarky comments to yourself, eh?
We talked for a bit, and we chatted about people that she still keeps in touch with from our school, and who she had seen recently. Turns out that as she stayed in the same city as our school, she saw quite a few people. I moved a good thirty miles away, which in Southern California is like a whole other state away. She mentioned that a girl, well, woman, even though she will always remain in my mind as a girl, that I played volleyball with was very sick with cancer. It's funny that even though a wife and mother, I will always picture her 18 year old self because I don't have any other mental image to replace it.
I told my mom about it, and she said, "Well, I thought you didn't like her much, anyway." Leave it to my mother to say something like that. Well, we certainly weren't best friends or anything, but I had nothing against her. She grew up very wealthy, her father was a successful real estate developer. I remember one time she was telling us while we were warming up for practice that her, her mom, and her sister had taken a jet over the weekend to England to do some shopping. That kind of rich. But, you would never have known it to look at her, and her parents definitely did not spoil them completely. I remember that the car that she drove after she got her license was actually a rather old-ish van. I always respected that she didn't totally flaunt her wealth, and she had a good head on her shoulders.
Fast forward to today, and my best friend from high school who I am still in touch with, called to tell me the bad news that she had passed away only last week. She left behind a young son and daughter. She was the same age as me. There was a memorial service at our high school today, but I didn't find out about it until too late. They do have a memorial guest book set up online, and I plan on adding my condolences as soon as I am done with this.
I got this strange urge to find out more about the life she had led, even though while she was alive, I didn't take the time. I found out that her older sister died suddenly right before Christmas. So, in less than two months, the family has had to deal with the loss of two daughters.
I cannot even imagine the loss and the devastation. My heart breaks for all of them, and I don't mind telling you that I allowed Mr. Personality one extra book at bedtime. And possibly, possibly, held him just a little bit tighter than I did yesterday.