Yesterday, my dear mother treated Chris, Caleb and me to the CU Symphony Benefit Car show. It was a nice event. Phil (the boy's dad) is in town and he went along. And it was one of those events where you see alot of people you sort of know, or used to know, but don't really know. Ya' know?
One of Chris' high school teachers recognized him. I could come up with the first name (Greg) but couldn't get the last name for nothin'. I stayed out of that conversation, though when Chris finished talking and rejoined Caleb and me, he told me the name and immediately I could remember what subject the guy taught, how Chris had done in his class, how he ran Parent-Teacher conferences . . . all those memories hooked up to the name I couldn't summon.
About five minutes later, I was the one with the name. I looked down (she's short) and there was someone whose first and last names came right out. She didn't know me from Adam, but when I told her my name, she did. We chatted, and she asked me if that was Phil standing not too far away. (I wondered who else in the world could it be? He doesn't look like anybody else! Except maybe his children, who are much better looking, due to MY genes being mixed in!)
Anyway, I said that yes, it was Phil. And she said, "I'm going to go see if he remembers me!" and bolted over there. I followed as fast as I could, but she was little and fast and she arrived at his side with her mouth moving, so I didn't have the opportunity to say, "Phil, look who I found: Mary Smith!" And of course he didn't know her. I managed to work her first name into a sentence. But I don't think he'd ever known much more than her name, and he couldn't come up with that now.
And I was struck with how interested she was in him knowing her. He asked a very generic question about how she was, and she responded with details about her recent life that demonstrated that she thought he knew exactly who she was. It was something to behold.
How hungry we are to be known! How eager to share who we are with someone we think we know. Or used to know. Or thought we knew. How important that, no matter what happens to us or to them or to the world we used to share, they still know our name.