Chance meeting

At first, you are not really sure that you have in fact glanced it. It is out of the corner of your eye...the left one. Yet, your brain instantly matches the face with a memory and something lights up. The person walking in the street, about to cross your path, is someone you know. Perhaps an acquaintance or a distant relative because your first reaction is to duck or run. It is too late to cross the street and so you jump behind a tree that proves to be too willowy for your pudgy frame.
Yet, they see you and instantly smile. They approach you with that smile. You know that the coming five minutes of your life will be completely wasted. You pray to a higher force to rescue you somehow, but they refuse to grant you that wish. The hug you. Your insides get squished. You haven't seen them in a long while and so they seem to believe the hug has to be a long one. You start choking and their hair is all over your face. You don't want to eat hair.
They finally let you go. The physical torture has ended, now comes the social or rather mental torture. They ask you a series of questions about your life to which you have to present an answer that is two sentences or less. Think of it as a pop quiz, only you do not know the answers to those profound questions even though you have been searching your whole life. You have to condense your whole existence in a paragraph to satisfy a mere acquaintance who you will never (hopefully) see again.
It's a harrowing exercise, especially when they ask you if you are happy. As if I am going to gush to a mere stranger about my joy in life. Oh, wait, that is what people do now. I am just not in on it. My bad.
They are always very "happy" to see me. Strange because I wouldn't be happy to see me. I am always left to wonder how happiness has become such an empty word. I don't think people know what it should stand for anymore. It is so overused that it has lost its value. Soon it will join its sister "love" in an untimely death.
The good thing about the chance encounter is that it ends, always, well at least if you are lucky. Then, you go about your business and thank the universe that you remembered to brush your hair that day. 


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