Coming Across the Spitting Image of Your Long-Lost Love

(A memory of December 2011)

Yesterday, I was waiting for a friend to pick me up outside of where I work so we could drive to Zeeland for a work-related film shoot. Where I was standing and waiting, the shuttle bus for work stops every few minutes and drops off employees. I wasn’t paying much attention to the latest shuttle bus when it arrived and deposited a new slough of passengers off on their beginning of a new day of work. But then I looked up, and one of the women getting off the bus was the spitting image of a woman who is still imprinted deep on my soul. Strangely enough, I hadn’t thought much about her in the last fifteen minutes (aside from the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day when I think about her constantly) but at that moment, I was thrown back over a decade to a time when seeing her walk off a bus in front of me would have sparked wonderful feelings of happiness and joy.

And for that instant I was there. I wasn’t in Grand Rapids in 2011, thinking about a movie shoot in Zeeland, but I was back in San Francisco, thinking about how all I cared about was this one woman to whom I pretty much pledged my entire being and future, thinking that there would be no other place in the world I would rather be than at her side. I was brought back to the times we’d walk around the lake in Oakland, talking about such mundane things but things that seemed so important at the moment because they were shared with her and no one else. And even more important, she was sharing those thoughts with me.

For that instant, I was back on my track towards medical school, thinking about how I was going to be the greatest research scientist in the world, almost completely because I knew how much that would have pleased her, being the wonderful person that she was (and wonderful people wanted you to help other people because they were just that wonderful). I had no other cares in the world, and the future looked so bright and open. I was in my 20s again, or was it my 30s? Either way, I was sure of the choices I was making in life, and I could stand up against anyone with the greatest of confidences because the woman at my side was the Goddess herself, or at least someone blessed by Her, and for me, that was more than good enough. It was perfect.

And then, instantly, I was brought back to 2011, standing in front of a woman who looked like the woman I once loved. She stared at me inquisitively and then somewhat suspiciously. I mean, this strange guy she never saw before was staring at her like she was her long-lost lover from years ago, which was exactly what was happening. So, she turned away, quickly, and rushed into the building.

I was left on the sidewalk, waiting for my ride to Zeeland. And then it arrived. And I went to Zeeland.

The memory then started to fade, and I was left with a sense of loss, realizing that I had seen her again, even though it wasn’t really her. And as we drove, I realized I would never see her again. And then the moment faded, and the conversation turned to other mundane topics.

Life can be like that sometimes. And there’s really nothing you can do about it.

Author of Innocent Until Proven Guilty and 15 other novels. Writer, college professor and computer game designer.

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