That's how long it's been since I last saw this particular family, until they moved away. I actually stayed in their home for a few weeks when I was first separated back in 2001, as I literally had nowhere else to go for a little while. They were very generous and hospitable. We spent about 18 months, as two families (before I was separated/divorced etc) hanging out a bit together. But life happens... they moved on, and you loose touch... it happens.
I saw the mum and the three kids in one of the markets in town today - firstly at a distance, then we literally passed each other. I realised the mum didn't recognise me at all (after all, I have changed a lot in six years, if the truth me known... plus today I had on a hat and sunglasses, as I'd just come in from being out in the inclement weather at the dam), and I guess I was just too shy/embarrassed to even say hello. So I let it go. It's no biggie.
But the one thing that really shook me - in a surprisingly nice way - was seeing how the kids had grown up so. I hadn't seen the youngest one since she was like three, so I didn't know her that well. But the middle son, who would be about 11 now, hadn't changed at all. But it was their eldest daughter. Back when we knew each other, she was about 6-7. She was a real 'plain-jane' - not unpretty, but not having any noteworthy features about her, but a great kid all the same. Well, now she must be about 13-ish, and it's kinda like "The Ugly Ducking" story... she's grown into quite a fine young lady! I almost didn't recognize her at first, but the nicer glasses she wore were the giveaway to me.
Even though I see my own children all the time, you kinda don't always pick up straight away on how much they've grown in so many different ways. But after a gap of 6-ish years, I was really taken aback as to how much she'd grown into a 'young woman' already! Astounding!
As it was, I still didn't find the nerve (or whatever it was) to go up and say hello, as, well, I hadn't seen nor spoken to them in all these years, and I just felt kinda awkward. (I've totally lost the outgoing confidence that used to be part of my persona 10 years ago, sadly). Anyways...
But the funny thing was, as these things sometimes pan out, they were in the car parked right next to mine! Sure they were unloading their groceries on the opposite side to where I was, so we didn't actually see each other even then! I was quite sure that the mum didn't recognize me at all at that stage anyways. So rather than make us both feel like absolute idiots...! heh heh
Mind you, as I was pulling the car out, the eldest girl looked at me, and there was a momentary flicker of some distant recognition across her face, and we exchanged smiles as I eased out of the car park. I mean, when you're 13/14, seeing someone (who probably looks nothing like you remember him to look like, in reality) you haven't seen since you were a young kid doesn't mean that much to you, really. But it was still nice seeing them again, even if it was at "a distance."
I'm just glad they're still together as a family, cause they sure went thru some pretty tough times about 10 years ago. Good to see them all the same. Bought back some nice pleasant memories from some more interesting times in my former life.
Peas be with ewe
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