It seems I’ve got supernatural powers. Well, not across the board. I do have my limitations. But I seem to be able to conjure people. People who magically appear (or re-appear) into my life after long absences. It’s nothing new, actually. I’ve done it for years — never intentionally, mind you. It just happens.
Last month it happened twice, within days of each other. Which is extraordinary in and of itself, don’t you think?
The first time freaked me out I don’t mind telling you. I’m still talking to myself. There’s a gal I’ve known most of my life — by which I mean, we first met when I was about eight or nine years old. That’s most of your life, right?
She, her three siblings and their parents, lived a block away from where I lived, in Montreal, with my parents. One of her sisters was around my age and the three of us were quite close. Her father played gin rummy with my father. And our parents belonged to the same golf club.
We hung out together a lot, throughout our childhood and even once we were all working. When her sister got married and started having kids the threesome became a twosome; but we continued to see quite a lot of each other. Then she moved to the Caribbean; and then I moved to Toronto. We did keep in touch for a while but you know how it is. Life takes over and the distance between us just really got in the way. We’re talking about pre social media days. Now, with Facebook and Twitter and email, we probably wouldn’t have lost touch.
I vaguely knew she moved back to Montreal after a couple of years away but what I didn’t know was, at some point, she moved again, this time, overseas. She’s now back in Montreal and has been for a while.
Our contact was sporadic at best and then it just dwindled to a dead stop. Over the years I did, from time to time, think about her though. We always had great times. She has a fabulous sense of humour and most of my memories are of us laughing hysterically whenever we saw each other. And nobody could be easier to get along with. You want to go to a movie, fine, we’ll go to a movie. You want to sit in the last row, fine, we’ll sit in the last row. You want chinese food, fine, we’ll have chinese food.
And truly, she doesn’t ask for much. Give her an endless supply of books, sunshine and multiple-scoop ice cream sundaes and she’s happy as can be.
Now would probably be a good time to tell you we haven’t been in touch for at least 20 years.
Recently, though, I’ve been thinking about her a lot. Don’t as me why, there’s no reason. I’ve thought about some of our Sundays, spent baking ourselves to a crisp at the country club pool (we didn’t worry about UV damage then). Eventually we’d drag our coconut-oiled selves into the club house for some food and, inevitably we’d each order the chef salad. Huge wooden bowls filled to the brim with crispy crunchy lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, thin slices of swiss cheese and assorted deli meats — all topped off with rings of green pepper, quartered hard cooked eggs and, right in the middle, a radish. And she’d rattle off a list of ingredients she needed so she could make her own thousand island dressing. Bowls of it. It was very good.
Every time we’d see the server approaching with the bowls we’d laugh and say “You, know, we really should share one of these”. Which we never did. We always had our own and finished every morsel.
In the last couple of weeks she was on my mind a lot. Again, for what reason I do not know. And lo and behold, I came home from volunteering last Tuesday night and there was a voice mail message from her, waiting for me.
To say I freaked out would be an understatement. What are the chances?
Obviously I called her right back and everything was exactly the same. Still laughing. And planning a visit, needless to say.
Would you believe me if I told you something similar happened two days later? This time it was a friend, and former neighbour from Oakville, a very pretty town about 50 km west of Toronto. Yes, I know, those of you who know me, and know I’m a city girl, are wondering how the hell I ended up there.
Let’s just say it had something to do with a man. And when I came to my senses about him, and my daily commute, I moved back where I belonged — to Toronto — alone. Not that there’s anything wrong with Oakville. It’s just that when you’re already working ten-and-twelve-hour days — which I was — the last thing you need is a one-and-a-half-to-two-hour commute each way, everyday.
Sandra and I have known each other for about 17 years. I moved first — back to Toronto, as I said. And we continued to see each other regularly. Obviously not as often as when you live a few doors away from each other, but regularly. Then she moved to cottage country. Probably a two to three hour drive from me, depending on weather and traffic. And I’d gotten rid of my car.
Again geography played havoc with a friendship. We still make the effort to get together, but its much less frequent. But we do catch up regularly by phone. Except we haven’t had any contact for about eight months. Life’s been very hectic for her and also, for me.
But yes, recently, I’ve been thinking about her a fair bit. And all of a sudden, out of the blue, my phone rang and it was her. Two days after my other friend called.
Wonderful, but a bit twilight zone, wouldn’t you agree? So do you blame me for thinking I have some supernatural powers? There is one thing I don’t understand, though.
Why is it, then, when I think about other things, let’s say money, nothing happens. Well, I shouldn’t say “nothing”. Something usually crops up that causes me to spend money I hadn’t anticipated spending.
So tell me. If I’m so good at conjuring people, why can’t I conjure up some cash that shows up unexpectedly and sticks around for a while???