don’t i know you?

Before the ballet Wednesday evening, Jeff and I had dinner in the Kennedy Center cafe. While eating, I noticed a male couple sitting a few tables away, one of whom seemed very familiar to me. However, I couldn’t remember how I knew him, though I was pretty sure it was from years earlier… had he been a squaredancer, perhaps, or did I know him from the gay science-fiction club, or, even worse in the lack of recollection, might we ever have been intimate? Was it even here, in DC, or could it have been earlier, back when I lived in Boston? I couldn’t remember his name, but I could recall a quality of voice, patterns of speech, so in whatever context we knew each other, we had spoken together, certainly.

Throughout dinner, I kept looking over, unable to help myself, trying to remember. Once or twice our eyes met, but there seemed to be no overt spark of recognition in his face. However, when he and his dinner companion finished, they walked over and he spoke first, saying that he was pretty sure we knew each other, but he couldn’t recall where or how. I confessed I believed the same, but could not remember the connection either. He said, “car club”? I said, “No. Squaredancing?” He shook his head. “Do you know X?” “I know the name, but don’t know him well; do you know Y and Z?” “No.” We both shrugged. He gave me his name, I shared mine. Ah, yes, that sounded familiar… maybe it clicked. Yes? No, the connection yet remained elusive. Twenty-four hours later, it still does.

One thought on “don’t i know you?

  1. Life gets creepy when you happen upon someone in a place away from home. I’ve had two of those happenings in the last year. First was last summer, when my then-date Ian and I went to Rehoboth for a few hours — he wanted to see the ocean. We sat down to dinner somewhere and I had the niggling feeling that I’d seen the guy at the next table before. Turns out it was John, a guy I knew in Reston back when I was, oh, 20 or so, and he was 16ish.
    Then in November, I was in Baltimore for our annual conference and while walking down the street with co-workers, a guy gave me a quizzical look. I looked back, and only a few minutes later did I realize it was (another) Jeff, a guy I had been — ahem — intimate with something like 10 years ago.
    Maybe with the rise in camera phones and the like, we could start taking photos of everyone we meet so that we’ll recognize them the next time we see them.

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