That’s it; they’ve eventually had enough of my trespassing. Although I try to tread very carefully on the wooden parquet floor of this store, I almost land my feet similar to the way a robot move his tripodal legs with the precision of hydraulic mechanism and the quietness of rubber clamping on wood and a weight applied gradually and carefully so that the parquet doesn’t squeak.
I am a thoughtful person after all, you know.
I turned around and saw this guy clad in black suit. He was standing behind a low counter; a friendly looking standalone counter in a high-end store. He had a friendly look on his face. Of course, I thought to myself, these guys would rip you off and graze your flesh alive and they would still smile. I wouldn’t have walked through this place anyway, unless I heard of an item that is outstandingly cool. I am here because that’s the only shortcut by which I can avoid having to walk for fifteen more minutes to get to where I wanted to go.
“Yes?” I said. You talking to me? I thought of adding Robert De Nero’s line but decided not to.
He was comfortable, and much more friendly than the usual average.
He said: “Do I know you?”
It all came back in a fraction of a second. Yes, it’s him. It’s bloody him. Man he’s still the same: short, chunky, full wide cheeks, dark hair, dark skin, the same courtesy, the same amiability. The same stealth aggressiveness. That’s the last impression I had of him, although I couldn’t remember where it was or how it’s ended. There might have been a fall out. We were high school kids and the testosterone was running high. He hadn’t changed much. Or maybe he did. But the reminiscence of the moment and the familiarity of one face from back in the days, that would usually evoke long-forgotten memories, would make your smile (or frown or sad face) contour your facial muscles the way it did back then. I believe this is how I managed to remember this guy after twelve years of not seeing him (or even hearing about him).
After a brotherly salams and pleasant and short recap of ‘where the hell have you been’ and ‘what brings you here’…etc…etc…we’ve exchanged phone numbers. I actually remembered his name, his younger brother’s name, and his father’s name. His building and the floor. And the color of the draperies on his room’s window. It’s uncanny. I remembered where he used to sit in class. And each name of the six comrades that were occupying the six seats in his direct vicinity. Two of them were constant trouble for him: they used to ridicule all his writing in the Arabic Composition class. He used to be good; a linguistic prowess combined with an eccentric habit of giving out all the details about his romantic life. Now if you ask me, some of his faux pas were ridicule-worthy, partly because of his unawareness of the shenanigans of metro life.. Even though he was a friend back then, he wasn’t spared my occasional sarcasm. That’s how brutal it was! … I wouldn’t have expected him to be working in such a place where you have fussy clients and a pricing policy that need to be backed up with the proper sales pitch and gimmicks. But he looked smart and right in place.
He didn’t remember my name, though. Even though he said it was the second time he had seen me passing through. But he said that I’ve ‘physically’ changed very much since than. Which is probably true.
Now I’ve been having memory lapses myself. I read somewhere that they are ‘normally’ associated with the imminence of the third decade of the short lifespan of a heavy smoker. So I wasn’t worried much about it. But I was somehow happy with my strong recollection of almost everything that I ever knew about this old buddy. The information rolled out on my mind screen the way the old DOS script rolled on black background when you command-called them.
I come now to the conclusion and the question I wanted to ask of you, my dear readers, especially those who are in the same age bracket as me: do you remember your old buddies from high school? And how much do you remember of them?
Thank you very much.