Growing up in a small town means you know everyone and everyone knows you. Do I daresay, it is possible that you are known before you are born, and are known long after you are gone?
I lived in a wonderful small town my entire childhood, and my family has deep roots in the community to this day. When I come home to visit, I often run into people who know me, though, through my embarrassment I cannot put a name to a face. It is not that I do not know who they are... it is that over time, I have not seen them grow, change, become older... Their names are familiar, though more often than not, like me their physical identity has run away over time.
The other day I was at a restaurant with my four little nieces. Just as I bite into my vegetarian burger, a handsome man stood in front of me, put his hands on his hips and said, "Hello Corey."
I had no idea who he was, but one thing was certain, I saw that he knew me well in his eyes. I apologetically asked him his name, and when he told me, I didn't catch it, except it sounded like he said Johnson or something. I didn't dare ask him to repeat it.
Isn't it true that we communicate more without words, with subtle if not unconscious, movements of our eyes, head, hint of a smile? I knew he knew I was at lost, and I could not add insult to injury by asking him again what his name was.
Instead I made small talk hoping time, and/or clues in the conversation might help jump start my memory. I gathered that he was from a neighboring small town, and a farmer. Not helpful clues in a land of many farmers and small towns.
He knew I did not know who he was when he left saying goodbye.
I was left with my intrigue: Who was he?
Later that evening I told my Mom that I had met a man at the local restaurant that seemed to know me well, and that I barely caught his name though it sounded like Johnson. I also mentioned he was from the neighboring small town. In less than two seconds flat she knew his identity... she has after all lived most of her seventy-five years in this small town called: Home, and is as sharp as a tack. If ever I went on a Game Show I would take her as my partner.
As soon as she said his name I knew who "He" was, and felt flushed with sweet memory... and ashamed that I didn't jump up and give him a hug.
He was my first boyfriend. The last time I saw him was over thirty five years ago, during Christmas where he gave me a wishing well that he made himself. He moved shortly after that, and we lost touch.
Hello R.J.! I am so glad you said hello...
Do you remember your first boyfriend?