Friday, April 11, 2008

Brief encounter

Aside.

We only part to meet again.

Change as ye list, ye winds; my heart shall be

The faithful compass that still points to thee.

John Gay

1685-1732

When Lois Daniel took her creative writing classes she would give her students headings to inspire them to write their recollections and one of them dreamed up for herself ‘Brief encounters.’ This resonated with the period I am writing about at present in ‘Past Imperfect’.

It was holiday time and the shop had been crammed with mothers trying to kit their children out for next term. Finally I closed the shop for lunch and realised I was ten minutes late for my lunch appointment with my friend Doreen who had a very short fuse. I locked the shop door and gave it the obligatory three rattles to make sure I had locked it properly (the shop was loaded with cash) and ran off down London Road. I had to get to a restaurant on the High Street so shot round the corner and ran full pelt into a man.

I lost my balance and he grabbed my arms. I hadn’t seen anyone quite like him in the town before; he looked like a diplomat; beautifully dressed and the sort of tan you get from living abroad. His hair was immaculate- silver at the temples - and his eyes were crinkled in a gentle smile and were dark blue.

He gazed down at me and said,

‘I’ve been looking for someone like you for the last ten years.’

I spluttered apologies and said I was very late and ran off absolutely certain I would see him again - perhaps after I had explained to Doreen. That took rather longer than expected and over lunch I told her what had happened and we speculated about what had happened ten years ago.

I looked and looked but I never saw him again.

How about you? Have you had any brief encounters?

40 comments:

R. Sherman said...

I find there are many times someone passes through my life, whether I communicate with the person directly or merely become aware of him/her, where I begin to wonder what his/her story is. Likewise, I wonder whether someone as ever pondered my existence.

Thought provoking post, dear.

Cheers.

FOUR DINNERS said...

usually at a bar...

a chap once came into my then local and bought me beer all night enthusing on all the good times we'd had. After buying me 6 pints - I'd confessed to being skint - he left with a 'great to see you again'.

I have no idea at all who he was.

Carmi said...

That's a very thought-provoking question, Pat. I need to mull it over for a bit, as I suspect I'm not alone in that my life has been marked by countless such "crossings" with folks.

I can't pick just one right now...need a bit of time to churn. However, it's safe to say that all encounters, however brief, leave some sort of mark.

Dropped by from Michele's today as I sit in the car in a cold, wet parking lot in the "other" London. Cool, huh?

rosneath said...

this reminds me of a saying 'only connect ...' which is about noticing coincidences and chances in life.

If you dream about something 2 or 3 times, take note of what your subconscious is telling you; if you bump into someone and there's a buzz, stop and talk to find out why; whoever you talk to on this earth, you will find there IS a connection - 6 degrees of separation.

however, in this case we'll never know! My brief encounters have always had some connection somewhere and have not been as 'out of the blue' as yours!

Wonder if he's reading this?!

belle

Nikki-ann said...

I'll have to give this one some thought. I'm very sure I've had a brief encounter or two, but can't think of any at this moment.

PI said...

Randall: in your profession it must happen frequently. You are fortunate in being able to ask questions - legitimately.

4D: I bet he thought you were a young - dammit I can't remember the name of the actor you remind me of.

Carmi: come back when you have thought of one:)

Belle: on the other hand he might say that to all the ladies he bumps into. I was in my forties by then and quite vulnerable.

PI said...

Nikki-ann: I can rarely remember instantly. My brain sort of freezes.

joe said...

I met a woman just last night and don't know if I will see her again. We talked briefly and then I had to leave the place my friend and I were. Who knows what'll happen next?

Michelle sent me to say hello!

Guyana-Gyal said...

There's one I can think of, a Swiss at a Caribbean holiday villa, we chatted then said goodbye.

Dandelion said...

D'you think it could have been George Clooney?

PI said...

JOE: tell me you got her number.

GG: did you get his name. If he's stayed in your mind a long time it is always worth a 'hello'. It was very hit and miss when I got in touch with MTL after all those years. All will be revealed.

Dandelion: no. It was the seventies and he must have been late forties at least

kenju said...

When I was 15 years old, friends of my parents took me with them to Duke University to visit their son and his wife. We went to a campus dining hall one evening and I forgot something in the car. While running back from the parking lot, I ran my nose smack dab into a belt buckle, belonging (I later found) to a basketball player. He was gorgeous, and so very tall. I was red-faced about banging into him, and bashful, but I found out his name and I have never forgotten it. I always wished I had been older when I met him - I would have liked very much to know him better. Many years later, I found out that he is a dentist in a town not far from here.

PI said...

Judy: Have you ever been tempted to change your dentist?

David said...

i must have had these encounters, will have to search my data base.
good to see you, pat.
here from michlele

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I have been thinking about what you asked Pat, and to be honest, I cannot think of a "meaningful" Brief Encounter...Of course, as soon as I post this, it will come to me.....LOL!
I love him saying what he did to you....How wonderfully memorable is that? VERY!

PI said...

David: I'm sure you'll come up with something.

Naomi: If you are like me something will suddenly hit you. And then please come back and tell us.

kenju said...

Yes, Pat, LOL - I did think about it. But my dentist is such a great guy and very good at what he does, that I stayed with him. MIchele sent me back to see the other's comments!

PI said...

Judy: maybe Mr Kenju influenced your decision - a little.
Sensible girl

Jean-Luc Picard said...

There have been two or three young women I have met on vacation, but never got their address to write or talk again later.

600th post at my Journal. Michele sent me.

PI said...

jean-luc: why not? Faint heart never won fair maiden. And they may be thinking why didn't he ask for my number?

Claire said...

I can't think of any...maybe I'm not thinking hard enough.... :D

Michele sent me over...nice to meet someone nearby!

PI said...

Hi Claire and welcome! I think we all need a bit of notice for a question like that.

dakotablueeyes said...

No brief encounters here. Visiting via Michele's blog

colleen said...

I waited for such an encounter and sometimes imagined one to be true, but in reality I don't think it ever happened. When I was young I was hoping someone would recognize me this way, like a soulmate.

I really appreciated your comments on Loose Leaf yesterday. Ted Danson is my husband. Michele is my blog friend.

PI said...

Colleen: you are one lucky girl.

Dakota: never say die!

keith hillman said...

I had a chance encounter last week. She bit my ankle! People really should keep their dogs on a leash.

kenju said...

HA! Yes, Pat, he did have a little something to do with it. And that dentist was a specialist in endodontics - and luckily - I didn't really need him! Michele sent me back to see what other's have written.

PI said...

Keith: ouch! I'll bet it was a small dog who though you were a post man.

Judy: good girl!

apprentice said...

I can't remember any off hand. My ones in the street abroad have probably been more related to my passport than to me and have been comical or creepy.

I like to people others though, especially at stations.

sablonneuse said...

Either I've led a very uninteresting life or my memory is failing me but I've been trying to think of a suitable brief encounter to no avail.

craziequeen said...

Hi Pat, I came via Michele this weekend.

My most memorable brief encounter was with the Black Knight last year - brief and romantic!

cq

Shane said...

These people who can't think of any - they're not trying hard enough. That feeling of frisson (I think that's the word) is an amazing thing. My brief encounters include one alcohol-assisted one that became a long and vast conversation with someone who shared some work interests - but whose path I wouldn't likely cross again, and another one that occurred as I began conversing with a slightly older woman who'd been brave enough to risk encroaching my personal space by opting (as I had) to take one of the better seats in the cafe that we were in - we talked about her moving into the area and her taking up a new sport.

A good question, that was, dear Pi.

Nea said...

Sitting on a bus taking us to the harbour for a 24 hour ferry crossing to England, I sat next to a girl who was heading for Bristol where she was going to work as an au pair. She came from the north of Sweden and realising I was English she picked my brains about swimming in the Bristol channel. At home she swam every day in the sea and she had checked on a map and taken note of the fact that Bristol is on the coast before accepting the job for a year. She wanted to know if I thought she would be able to continue swimming in the sea everyday. What do you think Pat? I wasn't too optimistic. Anyway, a few minutes later I met the man of my life for the first time and continued bumping into him through out the 24 hour voyage. The young Swedish girl I never saw again.

PI said...

Anna: Ihadn't thought about mine for years until a book triggered the memory.

Sablonneuse: you will have one - I'm sure - tucked away in your sub conscious.

CQ: sounds intereting.

Shane: ships that pass in the night we used to call them. Just remembered another.

Nea: I wouldn't fancy it myself. It always looks turgid - once it gets out in to the open sea the colour changes and them as can - do.

How romantic to meet himself on a boat. There's a story there I'm sure.

Kim Ayres said...

The one that leaps to my mind was not one of romance, but rather of deep emotional strain and sadness. Unfortunately it would take too long to write about here. Perhaps I'll make a blog post out of it at some point.

One day Pat, ask me about the girl on the dual carriageway.

PI said...

Oh Kim: please please please do a post about it:)

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Oh that is just so breathtakingly romantic, Pat! I can just see it - the tall distinguished man - you looking all rosy cheeked from rushing then BOOM! you collide and share something unnameable for a minute. Delicious!

PI said...

Sam: just as well I ran away; I might have missed my kismet which was only a ye or two away.

Guyana-Gyal said...

No no, Pat, I don't need to meet him again now. I have my very own true love, a wonderful, kind man. Sometimes I refer to him as 'my best friend'.

PI said...

GG: I'm happy for you. I know you'll cherish him.