I woke up at 5.30am this morning with two thoughts in my head:
I really need to pee, but am I bothered to get up?
I wonder what happened to my Dutch penpal?
Yes, totally random. What, you don’t wake up thinking of people you haven’t thought about in 20 years?
Oh, just me. Ahem.
Anyway, I couldn’t get back to sleep (also, I really had to pee) and started thinking about a few people. And yes, I did think about Googling them or doing a search on Facebook (admit it, you do that too). Alas, I can’t remember their last names. Oopsie daisy.
So I’m wondering about…..
My Dutch penpal. I can’t remember exactly how we ‘met’ as this was the age before the Internet. I don’t remember either who wrote who first. I do remember we were both 14; she sent me pictures and I thought how awesome, black and white photos!; she had fat, curly handwriting, had a really interesting and different life from me; and that wow, I have a friend in the Netherlands!!
We wrote each other back and forth, probably averaging a letter a month. I don’t know how long we kept it up, but I had a rather large stash of her letters with the very pretty stamps on the envelopes, her fat, curly handwriting filling up most of the space.
Sadly, I don’t remember when we stopped writing each other or why.
So I wonder about her. This Dutch girl, Gwen, who briefly touched my life. Where are you now? Are you married with children? Are you flying high in the corporate world? Are you on Facebook? Hey maybe you have a blog???
My university housemate. Yes, we call them ‘housemates’, since we did not share rooms, just a house, in my final year of university, in the years 1997 to 1998. Caroline was Irish, with bouncy black curls, an ever ready smile, an infectious laugh and the loveliest accent. She was vegetarian, wore bellbottom jeans with flair, and had a Word Processor (remember those things?). She also inadvertently introduced me to Massive Attack, a band I would never have had the opportunity to appreciate, if Caroline hadn’t deleted her entire assignment off her Word Processor by accident, then had to give me her ticket to watch some “really cool band” called Massive Attack live, so she could redo her work (poor thing).
We also did fun stuff like grocery shop, clubbing, hang out in each other’s rooms and discuss boyfriends. I remember calling her from London after graduation as I had grand plans to visit her in Ireland. I don’t remember much of the conversation – just the first 2 minutes where we just giggled and laughed for no reason other than we were happy to hear from each other.
I miss you, Caroline.
My co-worker at the Chinese restaurant. I worked part-time as a waitress in England when I was in my second and final years at university. There was a nice young man there called Michael who worked as a waiter. He was probably around 30, good looking, newly married and drove a Citroen (funny, the details you remember). He was also kind, friendly and smart. I often wondered why he was waiting tables when he was clearly cut out for so much more, but I never dared ask.
He was also the person who told me, “You’re pretty now at 21, but wait til you turn 30. You’ll come into your own, be comfortable with who you are, and you’ll be a stunner.”
This man single handedly made me look forward to turning 30, and since then, I have had no fear of growing older.
Michael, I hope you have moved onto better things, and gone on to be the man you’re meant to be.
Do you ever wonder about the people who touched your life in some way but you can’t find them on Facebook, damnit?