It happened again today at work. It doesn’t happen often but, when it does, I am always surprised a little…
Customer: “May I ask you a question – is your name Tim?”
Me: “Yes, it is.” This question does get asked often as my business has been featured many times in the local media (not bragging, just being honest). People frequently recognize me from pics in articles.
Customer: “I knew it – you are Tim K—–. I knew it.”
I was speaking with an extremely polished, well-dressed woman – clearly she was educated and professional and, the icing on the cake? She was also really, really pretty and very pleasant to talk with. I had complimented her on her dress – a navy/white/orange/black sheath with the colors in variegated horizontal stripes, accented with the tiniest Hermes orange belt. She was chic.
I found myself wanting to be her friend – turns out I already was – 35 years ago!
Customer: “Tim, it’s me, Melanie K—-, Kevin’s little sister. From Shelby (my hometown). Do you remember me?”
Turns out I DID remember her, but it has indeed been 35 years since I last saw her. Kevin – her brother – had been one of my “alphabet friends” all through twelve years of grammar school. There were four of us, really – Debbie J, Tim K (me), Mimi K and Kevin K – we were in a lot of advanced placement classes together (again, not bragging, just being honest) and it was the custom of our teachers to seat students in alphabetical order: Debbie, Tim, Mimi and Kevin. Melanie was/is Kevin’s little sister; the last time I saw her, she was a fresh-faced, Shelby Whippet cheer leader. Now here she was, a grown woman with more-than-“adult” children, here, in my store, three and a half decades since we had last seen each other.
The last time Melanie saw me, I looked like this:
I know, right? I look PRETTY DANG DASHING in that Shelby Whippet Band uniform. I played tuba, both in the marching band and in symphonic band, and was First Chair/Section leader all three years. (Geek) Pretty kick-ass, huh?
Here is my “official” Senior portrait from 1976. As you can see, I graduated the year that wagon wheels, split rail fences and black and white plaid seersucker Eisenhower jackets were in style. I am also sportin’ the “David Cassidy” (Google him, people born after 1976) and my oh-so-chic-and-stylish class ring.
So, once we both laughed and commented about how “grown up” we had both become, Melanie and I chatted for about an hour. It was really nice to reconnect with her – she is beautiful, successful and happy. When I apologized for not recognizing her immediately, she was very kind and said, “That’s OK, I know I look different but you are just as I remember.”
The thing is, at present, my hair is about 12″ shorter – and MUCH thinner – than in my band pic, and my waist is about 12″ thicker, LOL! But Melanie was kind and said she remembered the kindness in my voice, the cadence of my speech, my laugh and my smile. It made me feel really good about myself that those things are what someone remembers about me after 35 years – and they are all “still the same.”
As a gay man, I don’t have many of the traditional life mile markers that my heterosexual counterparts do. I do not have children, so that is not a way to mark time’s passing (although I did get a bitch slap recently when my oldest niece welcomed her first child). I was blessed to have both my parents with me until my Mom passed a few years ago so as I aged, they aged, and we all “remained the same.” Until very recently, I was unable to marry my beloved SBF (Sweet Boyfriend) – and still can’t in Ohio – but we will be tying the knot soon. So I guess long periods of time pass before an event – like seeing Melanie again today – reminds me that I am not twenty-five anymore…
I don’t “feel old.” I don’t think I “act old.” And I am doing my best to take care of myself so I can be around my beloved SBF for a long, long time yet to come. It was nice revisiting the past today for a while with Melanie but, for me, I prefer to stay in the present, always looking forward…