I might’ve have met you. Maybe I smiled at you on the street, or waved to you randomly. I might’ve been your customer, or you might’ve have been mine. Maybe I looked at you strangely on the bus, or train. We may have exchanged glances or shook hands. I may have avoided you, or tossed a coin in your busking case.
Perhaps I sat in the same restaurant as you, or in the same class as you. It’s possible you were in the same queue as me, or that I sat next to you on the plane while you were asleep. Maybe I even danced with you on a one off summer night, in some dark dingy club.
But do you remember me? Or are we just strangers?
Could we ever be acquainted for more than a fleeting moment? Just human to human, face to face—no assumptions, no inhibitions. Blurt my stories out to you. Or does that break the rules of social human etiquette? Too awkward? Too random?
Do I need to introduce myself formally with niceties and shake hands on it first? Break the ice? Gain your approval before I open my mouth? Or can we just start somewhere?
In fact, let’s start here.
Let’s see each other at the same spot I first saw you that morning. You were holding a clear umbrella in the pouring rain. I accidentally bumped into you, remember?
Perhaps we can share a cigarette, or two. A coffee on the side, maybe some cake. Or maybe you don’t like smoking or coffee? How about a beer? Wine?
But still, let’s talk a little, maybe laugh, maybe not. Let’s exchange numbers. Let’s meet somewhere else.
Then I’ll know. I’ll know that you like lattes not cappuccinos, because for you, cappuccinos are just lattes with froth—you don’t like being charged extra for aerated milk. I’ll know that you only like cheese on pizzas and pasta.
I’ll know that orange striped shirt is your favourite because you got in a market in Hong Kong—you can’t find it anywhere else. I’ll know that story about the tattoo etched on your right forearm. I’ll recognise that ring from your father—he gave it to you on your birthday before he passed away. I’ll know that you got a haircut when we meet again.
You’ll tell me you hate your haircut—it’s different from your usual hair style. You’ll tell me that you argued with your mother yesterday over money. You’ll tell me how you quit your job because the manager is being anal.
You’ll tell me your shitty car broke down over the weekend. Are you going to get a new one? You’ll tell me that you have this crush on a bar tender, but you’re still in love with your ex. Oh but how you hate your ex too! What will you do? you ask me. I don’t know what to do.
Yet somehow we’ve become friends. No longer strangers.