Chance encounter

I saw Lynne—on the bus.

I’d seen her last almost twenty years ago—must have been—and then there’d been a contretemps of sorts—I think that’s what it was.

She spoke to me—or I might not have seen her at all.

“Is that Joan?” she asked.

I looked across.

“It’s Lynne—” she said, but I was recognizing her as she said it—the details of her—eyes, hair—at odds—but then coming together in my memory—

An attractive woman—stylish—more in touch with fashion than I’d ever be—

But—all those years ago—she had got to a point of pulling back—she didn’t like to say, or wanted to preserve herself, above all—had seen my troubled times—didn’t like to ask—

We weren’t alike—maybe she thought we were—but she was somewhere I wouldn’t have wanted to be, even then—and I’m somewhere else altogether now—though a couple of tail-ends to all that remain—I said I was still—

No.

Let’s get this into chronology, this at least.

I’m not good at small talk, and Lynne only wants to say what she wants to say—and will duck out of personal issues (I surmise) and therefore is glad when I talk—

I said I had a blog!

“Oh,” she said, “anything to do with the internet…do you still write?”

Despite my effort of—first things first, and second things following on—what was said is not as I have it here.

I had asked her a few questions about herself—I’m not entirely without curiosity—and she had said that teaching had become stressful—and she’d hardly wanted to do it.

Words to this effect.

We’d done a university degree together, more or less, Lynne and I—and I said, “You go through all that and then wonder what for—”

She knew what I was talking about—the jobs at the end of all that studying are not as you imagined—

It was then I said I had a blog.

I must say—there is some lilt of enthusiasm in my voice when I do mention to people that I have a blog—

I don’t tell everyone, but I didn’t even consider not telling Lynne.

No—the fact was out of my mouth the minute it had entered my head—

Something like that.

Hmm.

All this makes me think that Lynne has problems of her own—she wants to engage, but can’t completely—

I have another friend like that.

Anyway, she asked if I still write.

What?

As if I didn’t!

This is where I got stuck in this story before because I can’t remember what I said exactly—except that I said, “That’s what I do—writing is what I do.”

She’d had this career of teaching and, for once, I didn’t feel as though I also should have had a career of teaching or, if not that, some other position with status, commensurate with my education—

I said to Lynne that was why I’d ditched (or a word similar to that) Castle & Son & Associates—because of the writing.

She had to get off the bus then—and I looked out when she’d gone—waved—and she was looking back at the bus, at me—and she waved.

I like Lynne.

It would be up to her if we met again—or there might be another chance encounter.

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