I wrote the following piece on March 14, 2007 but I found it this afternoon buried in an email file called “Essays and Reflections.”
Last night, after dinner with Reema, I stopped by the Safeway on 17th Street. While inside, I noticed a strikingly handsome black man in gray track pants and a hoody. He was tall, bold, and broad-shouldered. He was listening to his ipod as he walked around the store with his basket on his arm. At the checkout counter, I ended up one person behind him (at 10:45 only two checkout stands were open). As I waited I kept thinking how very familiar he looked to me. I tried to place him at Georgetown, MC, Dupont Circle, but no memory of him triggered. I realised how limited or small my world has become in D.C. I travel and exist within a 10-mile radius of my home. Anyway, I decided that he was just one of those faces with which I had grown familiar as I probably just see him around the city on a regular basis. Then, after he paid and while he was collecting his bags, and as the person ahead of me took his spot, the the black man looked at me. He squinted his eyes. He tilted his head. He pulled out one ear plug and said, “I know you….” He pointed at me a few times, nodding his head. “I know you,” he repeated.
“I thought the same thing, but I can’t place you,” I said.
He smiled, and left.
Two things struck me as I re-read this memory: I don’t know Reema anymore, sadly, and what a romantic I was back then.