My history is littered with remnants of unforgettable encounters. Briefly written chapters with people who had a moment inside my four walls. Some simply opened the door and glanced in. Others seemed interested enough to stay awhile. A few abruptly entered without a welcome, and remained inside my sacred space longer than I was comfortable with. Some left far earlier than I wanted them to. And then there were those who I pushed out, without really meaning to.
Who they are and what they mean to me are, at times, obscure notions; but in reality they left an impression upon me that is more consequential, and influential, than I give credit for.
My grade school teacher with her tie-die skirts, unkempt hair and earthy nature; a boy named “King”; Matthew, a brooding sophomore with James Dean allure and his ‘wrong side of the tracks’ hands under my freshman bra; the Air Force-bound high school wrestler who had my abiding affection through four acne-plagued years; the homely girl up the street whose deeply religious family politely ignored her pregnancy like a crude smell in a crowded elevator; a self-absorbed motorcyclist in love with my mother almost as much as himself; my college friend from a callous foster home who was the first to teach me about courage; the Southern Comfort-addicted disc jockey in Washington DC with eyes sadder than a kenneled dog; the elderly lady and her over-weight cat in the picturesque white Colonial across the street; the married ‘suit’ with daring blue eyes who was clandestinely pursing affairs; the California blonde surfer with an unmatched kiss; the ego from Chicago whose façade was brittle and attitude biting; my homeless friends on M Street; the Texas Catholic boy and his Jars of Clay sexuality; the Hispanic hairdresser and her theatrical girls who embezzled my heart; the Vietnamese girl at the corner café with her surprisingly deep eyes and delicate smile with whom I never shared a spoken word despite in our many delightful, gestural conversations; the tortured comedian in Dallas with his dueling pleasure and pain emotions barricaded inside his conflicted soul… I could go on for pages… unfolding each obsolete name tag which no longer bears a name, only a faded memory.
Our paths intersected and we shared an experience that may or may not remain in the confines of their treasure chest. As I think of them, I wonder… who are they now?