Last Sunday I went to visit my parents, who still live in the town I grew up in. This morning, while rushing around the town centre doing errands for my mum, I bumped into an old friend who I'd not seen for over 20 years, and not spoken to for at least 17. She's American but has family in my hometown and when she was younger used to spend the summer months with her aunt and uncle, who lived round the corner from my family. We first met when I was 11 and she was 13 and we got on like houses on fire - whenever she was in Greece we were pretty much inseparable. Then, as she got older she had school and college commitments and couldn't afford to spend summers in Greece, my family moved to another part of town, I moved to Athens and then England and we didn't see each other any more.
This was before mobile phones and email, and way before Facebook, Twitter and Skype, when the only way to keep in touch was to write letters or make very expensive phonecalls in the middle of the night (esp. if you had an inability to calculate time differences correctly, as I did). I think I got too embarassed of ringing her at 5 AM and waking the whole family up, so I stopped calling, she stopped writing and we eventually lost touch completely.
Until this morning that is, when we came face to face as she stepped out of a shop just as I was walking past. It took me a couple of seconds to recognise her, she didn't see me at all. I called her name, she turned around, blinked and as soon as we both realised who the other was, we started shrieking like... well, I guess like two friends who'd not seen each other for 20 years and all but given up hope of ever seeing each other again :-)
We got a lot of funny looks chatting animatedly (i.e. at the top of our voices) in the street, but who cares? It's not every day you come across an old friend. It was impressive (and a little scary) how immediately we clicked, even making the same comments, pulling the same faces and reacting the same way to the smallest things as we gave each other an update on our lives. It almost felt like 20 years hadn't gone by and we were still teenagers spending the summer together. We've promised to keep in touch, so we'll see. Wouldn't it be great if I've found an old friend again, just like that?