Posted in A Moment in My Life

“The Lost Reel”

A Moment in My Life – Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The other day, a song triggered a feeling that haunted me for days. I couldn’t shake it off. I couldn’t make sense of it, either. Eventually, I gave in to the feeling. I let it take me where it wanted to lead, and it took me to a softly lit room where couples were slow dancing to Air Supply’s “Every Woman in the World.” It was a small room painted pale pink in a small house. I glanced at the faces on the dance floor and didn’t recognize anyone. There was a smartly dressed couple asleep seated on the floor against the opposite wall. I glanced back to the dance floor, and I noticed a girl with shoulder-length wavy black hair wearing a familiar fuzzy pullover lavender sweater with shoulder pads over lavender slacks. When she swayed to the music, I got a glimpse of her face, and it was me from my younger days! 

Who was the guy dancing with me? I don’t recognize him. What was this place? I don’t remember this scene. Who were these people? Did I dream this? It feels familiar, yet I have no recollection of this moment. It’s funny how your mind fills in the blanks if you let it. I willed to have the blanks filled, and slowly the puzzle pieces took form, revealing more and more to me. Ah yes, this was my Japanese exchange student girlfriend’s house on 19th Avenue in San Francisco, where she lived during our City College days. She was a sweet girl with the smallest cutest voice I had ever heard. What was her name? I don’t remember. It’s coming to me now. Her name was Akiko. I met her in accounting class. We became quick friends. I remember thinking she must be well off if she could come to school from Japan, and her daddy buys her a house to live in while she was here. She was down to earth and didn’t act like a rich kid. I liked her. She was a nice person.

It’s coming back to me now like an old movie. This accounting class was like the bar at Cheers. A bunch of us classmates became friends. There was Peter Sun. He and I were tight, and I was his confidant through his girlfriend sagas. Oh yes, they made such a fine-looking pair. Alas, I saw Peter again years later, and they didn’t stay together. Oh well, such is life. There was this engaged power couple in our group, too. They were Akiko’s friends. His name was Norman. Hers was Christina. They were way more mature than any college students I knew. I called them the power couple because they had good jobs. They were extremely hardworking, dressed like successful Wall Streeters, and were always rushing off to their jobs. It was not surprising to find them dead to the world, propped up against the wall at Akiko’s party asleep, while the rest of us partied.

All this time, I remembered my college years were lonely ones with me attending classes fulltime from 8:00 until 11:00, then I raced off to my job at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich from 12:00 to 5:00. After work, I went back to the computer lab on campus to make sense of my assignments. I don’t remember having a social life back in those days, but from this memory, I obviously had a social life and friends, too. 

It’s been decades since the night of the party. Why did I forget it? I had a great time. Why did my mind blank out that whole period along with my friends? Why did we lose touch? I have no answers, but I wonder where they are now. I hope they are doing well. Maybe one day, I’ll find them again. In the meantime, I am glad I found the lost reel of my life. I won’t misplace it again.

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