There’s always something slightly odd when something from one part of your life meets another, especially if you weren’t expecting them to ever cross paths.
It’s the same kind of feeling you get when you have a favourite song that you listen to by yourself at midnight with earphones in and turned up so loud you can’t hear anything else, and then you hear that very song playing in your friend’s car, and suddenly all of these mixed emotions happen because those memories were always supposed to stay separated, but suddenly it’s melded as one and it doesn’t quite make sense.
Just last Sunday I went to a church that was an hour away, and because I’m already seven hours away from home (I moved out temporarily last year), I wasn’t expecting to know anyone. I’m used to being the person that people don’t recognise, because no one around here knows me or my family. But as I was sitting, someone turned around and told me they knew me.
I was so unprepared.
Sometimes in my head I think about what it would be like to run into an old school friend that I hadn’t seen since primary school, and what it would be like to be around new friends when this meeting occurred. But I’ve never actually prepared myself to see it happen.
Not that this meeting was quite like that; this was an old family friend, whom I recognised after a time. But watching this old family friend talk to the current people in my life? I never imagined that those worlds would collide. It’s something from my childhood suddenly becoming real in my adulthood.
But I’m not ready for colliding worlds. Because once someone from your past has met someone in your present, things become real and you can’t view them as separate events any more. It’s like seeing your teacher at the supermarket when you graduated two years ago. It’s like bringing your boyfriend home to meet your parents and then breaking up with him. It’s like hearing ‘that’ song with someone else around and suddenly something private becomes open, if just a little. It’s like having a café you go to on your own and then taking someone else there one day.
Things just aren’t the same, because once these worlds meet, you can’t pretend.