Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – November 7, 2004
Running Into An Old Friend
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – November 7, 2004 – I went down to The Bay on Bloor Street today in my on-going (and I hope soon to be over) quest to freshen up my wardrobe. I did the rounds of the “designers of the moment” on the second floor. With my size twelve hips and size eight waist, needless to say nothing fit.
It was tough to find anything not constructed for a pencil person. I jumped on the escalator and rode up to third floor, still hopeful that I might find a couple of things that took my fancy. No such luck.
Talbots was my next stop. For heaves sake if I can’t find a pair of slacks at conservatively minded Talbots, I might just as well give up – and give up I did. Fortunately I hadn’t come a great distance to survey all the tiny people clothes that were on display everywhere I went. My last stop was Blue Bayou on Bay Street. Elastic waist pants were on display everywhere – in numerous colours – but mostly in fabrics like velour, knit and fleece. Not quite what I had in mind. Alas, I was willing to concede defeat for the day.
I was parked in the green city lot on Cumberland and as I headed to my car I decided to pop into The Omega Centre for a quick look around. I paused in front of some sun catchers for a moment, but decided that I’d rather just enjoy the sunshine outside my window and leave catching the sunbeams to fairies and elves. Somehow that seemed fitting. I had a look at the exercise, Yoga and Pilates books and was just about to leave the store when a person who looked vaguely familiar called out my name.
Sure enough I had known this woman quite well over twenty years ago. She had gone through a very difficult time in her career and personal life and her family had endured a tragic loss with the death of her brother. She stayed with me for awhile during this crisis, and things got a little tense between us. I was working (unhappily) in the corporate world at the time and my tolerance metre wasn’t topped up to its usual capacity.
We ended up having a dreadful fight at my home during which she enumerated my deficiencies without once mentioning my good points. Another friend witnessed this barrage and was nonplussed at the vitriol in her verbal assault. She stormed out of my home and I never saw her again until today.
It was an unusual encounter – foreign, yet familiar. We sat on a sofa and chatted about our lives today, not much about the past, more about life in general, mid-life changes, mutual acquaintances, careers, spiritual pursuits, parents, homes and how life changes so quickly.
About four-thirty the staff stared to turn out the lights in the store and we got up to leave. We were both parked in the same city lot, so we walked up the street together. My car was parked close to the entrance and I stopped behind it. We talked for a few more minutes and then parted. She to her life and I to mine. We won’t re-kindle a friendship but somehow I felt good knowing she was okay – that her life was alright. I had wondered about her occasionally over the years and now I know she is fine and I wish her well.
I thought again of one of my favourite sayings – “People come into our lives for a season, a reason or a lifetime”. That friendship had a season and the reason for its existence was to teach me some of life’s difficult lessons. I think I learned them well and I trust that she did too.