How did I get here?

No, not that kind of “how did I get here?”  Maybe I have a few philsophical rants left in me.

Today I passed a woman in the hallway at work.  I’ve seen her for years.  She’s always dressed in the same or similar clothes:  a housefrock (denim or otherwise) and a knit shirt, her blonde hair cut pixie short but not combed or neat.  She never wears makeup.  I’ve always been a little afraid of her because she never smiles; she just hovers down the hallways, one direction or the other, like a hobbit.  To tell the truth, I thought her department was outsourced years ago, so I’m not sure what she’s doing there.  Maybe she’s a ghost and I’m the only one who can see her.

The junctures of the hallways at work usually have a mirror hanging overhead so those of us who get engrossed in conversation or whatever can see if someone is coming from around the corner, and we don’t bump into each other.  Today I happened to look up and see she was coming from the hall to my right.  She saw me, too, and she paused before turning the corner, as did I.  We both poked our heads around the corner and smiled.  I noticed for the first time in seven years that she’s got a great smile, like at one time she was an adorable little five-year-old.  Probably the apple of her father’s eye. 

How did we get here?  I know what I looked like at 5.  I have the picture my mother had taken at the Pathmark photo studio.  I was cute, all long brown hair and blue eyes.  Here I am, 41 years old, looking at myself in the mirror, wondering when that cute 5 year old turned into…me.  With wrinkles and a couple gray hairs and stress lines.  What happened to me between now and then that turned me into this?  Just like what happened to that woman in the halls who became the strange, quiet lady with the brilliant smile? 

I’ve seen emails that say that it’s not the first and last year engraved on our tombstones that matter; it’s all about what the dash in the middle represents.  That dash covers an awful lot of ground, and it makes all the difference. 

I won’t be blogging this weekend.  I’m “going dark”.  (I’ve always wanted to say that.)  Have a happy Memorial Day weekend, and remember that somewhere out there, someone is watching over us all.  Try to remember to say Thank You. 

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