Friday night, my sister Susan met me at my son's volleyball game. Charlie played! They won! But I digress.
After the game, one of the moms Susan knew from eons ago started talking to her.
"I can't remember the last time I saw her," Susan told me when we reached the car. "But she told me she had missed me."
It's not that they were ever even close, so this struck us as a bit funny. Then we remembered a similar encounter at our niece's wedding. We saw a precious family friend we hadn't seen in years. She used to stay with Charlie one day a week, and would bring her granddaughter Genesis.
Genesis is now 14, a year younger than Charlie. When she saw me and her grandmother told her who I was, she hugged me hard.
"I've missed you!" she said.
I don't know if she even remembered me. Even so, she held my hand as we walked to where the cake was being cut. She didn't let it go until she wrapped her arms around my waist to say goodbye.
At the time, it struck me funny, in a sweet sort of way. But these two encounters have helped me see more clearly what missing someone can mean: That yes, you can miss them, even if you didn't realize you did. That seeing them again -- after a day or a week or 20 years -- can show you a bit of a void in your life. One that may be tiny and forgotten, but one only they can fill.
They go from being a hole on the beach that fills with sand and salt water the moment you stick your shovel in the sand, to one in the garden. There, an empty hole is huge, until you pop into it something green, something growing, something full of life.
Missing you indeed.
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