Don’t be surprised if one day, when you are living far, oh so far, very far indeed from your birthplace and hometown, you digress briefly into detour, almost unexpectedly drawn back to your roots.
It could happen, for example, when a slightly older friend with whom you happen to share the same hometown, cultural background and favored foods, ruminates about his (female) cousin. He mentions her maiden name, then married.
Neither rings a bell.
Then, because we’ve also established that this cousin and I were neighbors (she grew up around the corner); and, by the way, that she was a teacher at my elementary school, across the street, he will gently ask if you might not anyway remember her, despite our differences in age.
Still no sound of bells ringing. Nothing clicks.
But then you return home and that familiar niggling feeling pokes you in the psyche. You’ll suddenly recall scanning a pile of photos from your childhood album this past summer. So naturally you do what a person with a sharply spiked curiosity does; flip open your laptop and skim through the bunch of them.
Something about a quirky image from grade school will stop you in your skimming-tracks. Not because of the spunky girl in bangs looking up at you; dolled up in a home-made Raggedy Ann costume, with make-up caked on and a smile spread across her face. Nope. It’ll happen because your immediate recall will extend only to the teacher on the left… ah, that was Mrs Z.
But you draw a complete blank when it comes to identifying the young and trendily-dressed hipster on the right.
It’s a long shot, sure. But you just need to know. So you send it by attachment to your friend. Could that woman be your cousin?
And then, later that very same day, the teacher who once decked herself out in shiny faux-leather leather duds will send her cousin this. And the sight of it, the buoyancy of smiling happy faces, childhood friends unseen for decades, will bring you (perhaps altogether expectantly) to the very cusp of tears.