You can never go back

A few days ago working at the petrol station I served a small, old lady. Nothing particularly dramatic here really, except that this particular lady (shall we name her Mrs W) contributed in a small way, to my past, a past I might add, that I feel very removed from.

She did not look in any way, shape or form familiar. She gave me her credit card and with a sideways glance to check the name, I noticed she was Mrs. W. Being that there are many people with that name, I assumed it was either a) one of the teeming millions of W.’s or b) a relative? She did look somewhat familiar to my English teacher some six or so years ago. But then she was a medium height, husky red haired English teacher with a wealth of knowledge behind her and a real penchant for teaching. She wasn’t my favourite or best teacher- far from it when I take into consideration other teachers from other schools I have had since then, but a good decent one (who if I remember correctly had a hatred for Tolkien that I did not). In front of me however was not that woman. Here was a small, frail, bent over white-haired wrinkled and thick-spectacled lady. Another card in her wallet that I spied, one from my old school and a photo from her at younger times, jolted me into realisation. She left but briefly came back to ask if she could change to a different card as she used the wrong one.

Six years. Six years is what it took to annihilate even a very hazy image of someone I knew. So hazy that I must permeate though six extraordinary years of growth and development into definitively worse time, a time that I care not to think about or ponder on, yet that inestimably small ideal of a good person I knew disappeared. Was it a disease? Was it somehow her mother (the names were the same so it’s doubtful)? The way in which she conducted herself was also different and wholly average of any other customer I encounter on a regular basis.

What happens to people when you leave them alone?

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~ by freeze43 on November 20, 2008.

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