Sunday, October 14, 2007

Brief Encounter

She dropped something on the floor of Krogers in the Village. I heard the sound of her exasperation, and recognized on her face a look which probably mirrored my own expression, “Here I am for the three thousandth time buying pork chops and paper towel and milk and carrots, while I would much rather be anywhere else.” I made a comment in commiseration, and when she responded, I heard the distinctive Scottish accent in her words. She pegged me immediately too. So we started to chat. “Where are you from?”—safe beginning. The answer, in her case, was Edinburgh. We talked about Inspector Rebus and Irn-Bru, and moved on. “How long have you been here?” Me somewhat longer than she. How often do you go home?

The subjects came thick and fast. Do you have family there? Too bad British Airways no longer flies Detroit to London. Wouldn’t it be nice to go back, rent a place and spend some time? We were both aware, I think, that the Britain of today is not the Britain we remember, that life is not the same, we are not the same.

We mentioned our current homes—she in the City on Dodge Place (nice, that) and me in the Park. But we never exchanged names. She seemed like a very nice person, but we are not destined to be friends, just to remind each other in a brief encounter of other days in other places, of what has been and what might have been.

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