Do you ever wonder about someone you met years ago? I do. I think about people I met back in the dark ages, and wonder, "How did they turn out?" I suppose it's a natural part of growing older; how else could you explain all these silly reunion shows where we finally get to see how our beloved sitcom stars turned out? Maybe we secretly want to hear all the juicy dirt on people. We're like that, you know. But, maybe there's a more virtuous reason. Maybe we really care about these people.
I wonder what happened to a guy I met the first few days of college. I was washing my hands in the dorm bathroom, and he walked in. I smiled and said, "Good evening!" I used to do stuff like that, just saying, "Good evening" to perfect strangers. I also said "Excellent" a lot. Well, this guy looked at me and said, "Dreeee-venn-ing?" I looked at him and slowly said, "Good evening," and again he was puzzled. "Dreee venning?" He never got it right, even after I coached him on the pronunciation. He was fresh from South America, trying his textbook-honed English skills in a world of southern boys with drawls. I always wondered how he fared in class when he was flunking "Greetings 101." Maybe he went on to finish his degree. Maybe he didn't. I wish I knew.
I also wish I knew what happened to the thief I met. He was going through my briefcase, taking what he wanted. Sure, I actually carried a briefcase back then, but that's not an open invitation for petty larceny. I wonder what became of him, after I shooed him off. Maybe he regrets what he did. Maybe he's a deacon in his church. People make mistakes and they can change. I wonder if he still has my fancy Cross mechanical pencil. I wonder if he used it to write a letter to his mother, or if he used it to fill out the paperwork for his child's first day of school. Either way, I've forgiven him, eons ago, because that's what I would want someone to do for me. We all fall short, don't we? Mr. South America, if you're out there somewhere, keep practicing, "Good Evening!" or just say, "Hi!" And, Mr. Thief, if you still have my fancy Cross pen, consider it yours, with my blessings.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at email@example.com