We went to a family funeral on Thursday in north London.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife’s uncle-in-law died at home in his sleep at 85. While there is naturally sadness, at the catering hall gathering that followed the church service and cemetery his son reminded me (perhaps he was also telling himself this as a way to deal with the loss) that his dad had been 85 and he had had (as they sometimes say in this country) “a good innings.” And his mother was coping okay so far at least.
I also bumped into a guy there I had not seen since he was at my wedding in 1999. His late father had been German, his mother (a close friend of the widow) is Irish/English, he himself raised in Switzerland and he lives there now with his wife, who’s Canadian. In case you are keeping track. (His wife did not come to England for the funeral.)
Queuing (as they also say here) for the buffet, we exchanged the expected pleasantries about how time flies by quickly, etc. He said he vividly remembered my wedding reception, which had been held not far away. He also noted he’d really enjoyed it.
He wasn’t putting me on about that either. I became certain of that within seconds as he brought up something else. More precisely, and sounding a bit self-conscious and awkward while doing so, he mentioned someone else.
“Uh, I remember one girl. She was Turkish…”
As soon as he said that, and then stumbled slightly over the pronunciation of her name as if he had not said it out loud in many years, I chuckled inside. I’d expected him to have to cite her (she was Turkish-British) as his foremost recollection of that day. (This was years before he would meet his own future wife.) Clearly he didn’t realize I had noticed, or that my new wife had too, as had other guests, that the pair had hit it off extremely well – particularly on the dance floor.
She was a girlfriend of my wife’s. She mentioned him to us several times in the weeks and months afterward. But nothing ultimately came of their “meeting” at our wedding reception.
While forking food onto my plate, I updated him: “Ten years ago, she married an English guy who became an American. She also became a U.S. citizen. Last we heard of her, she was living in North Carolina and they had a child.”
Seventeen years later, though, he has obviously not forgotten her. As we move on through life, we probably make more of an impression on others than we often realize we do. Even if we are sure we must have faded from someone’s memory, chances are we haven’t.
As a writer now, I live for this stuff.
Ah, but you knew that already. 😉
Have a good weekend, wherever you are in the world. 🙂