One of the surreal but nice things about living so close to my grade school is how I sometimes see my old teachers. Like this morning as I came from a short walk to buy some things for breakfast. I was walking down our street when I saw one of my grade school teachers walking toward the direction of the school. I knew her name though I had a feeling she didn’t have the same last name anymore from years before when she was my adviser. She was younger then and single, probably just starting out and of course she looked different from how she looked now but still very distinctly recognizable. I have seen her walk with her daughter before, her daughter who also went to my school and wore the same uniform I did at that age. Today, her daughter wasn’t with her and I wondered if she had grown up too and was in high school already by now. Was she still at home, taking her time with going to school as it was very early yet? Who knew.
It only took a few seconds for us to pass each other. She was talking to her companion (another teacher, maybe. She doesn’t look familiar at all) and quite early for classes that were to start before 8 in the morning. I was on my way back home for breakfast with my mother with a bag of bread and other food stuffs in my arms. She hadn’t seen me and I was already smiling with nostalgia, trying to remember exactly at what grade was she my class adviser.
I greeted her good morning as I passed, calling her by her maiden name. It was like grade school all over again for me and it made me smile wider with a mixture of mischievous glee and wallflower shyness. She greeted me back but was of course a bit startled and confused at having a random 20-something greet her in the middle of the street. I probably looked very different from her usual crowd of pre-teeners and when she was my teacher, I was definitely a lot smaller than I was now.
As I walked away, I wondered if she tried to remember who I was, going back a decade and a few years to her old students, trying to fix a name to what she saw of me. She probably won’t be able to, given how many of her students have come and gone through the years, but that’s okay. It was nice just to have seen her and to be able to greet her a good morning like I would have done years ago.