• I'm highly likely to ignore someone I know from high school when I see them in town
• If I see a familiar face, I wait to see if they recognise me to spare myself the blushes
My dad and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua went to the same secondary school.
They were two years apart from each other. I think when my dad was in Form 5, Mutua was in Form 3.
That was the first thing I remember about Alfred Mutua. Back then, he was still the government spokesman.
My dad would point out random facts about him when he’d be on television, addressing the nation.
I always wondered if my dad would go up to him if they ever met again and say, “Hey Alfred, it’s been a long time! Do you remember me?”
Knowing my dad, he probably would.
I don’t know how to react when I meet my own former classmates or schoolmates. Especially those from high school. The chances of me ignoring them when I see them in town are very high.
I just never know what to say.
I always think that maybe they wouldn’t remember me because I was a bit of a wallflower in high school, and I have changed a lot since I was a teenager.
I, on the other hand, hardly ever forget anyone. I’m very good with names and faces.
Last year, I met a former schoolmate of mine while walking around my estate. I was looking for fruits and I saw a kiosk with some nice oranges.
Turns out that Mary, the former schoolmate, owns the kiosk.
I just remember something in my brain kicking and thinking, this girl looks familiar. So I asked her, “Didn’t we go to school together?”
“No. I don’t think so,” she said.
“Mary! That’s your name, right? I swear we were in Quabbz together. I never forget a face,” I pushed.
She completely denied ever being in the same school or that her name is Mary, but I am so sure it is her.
As sure as I am that my dad will remind me that he went to school with Alfred Mutua the next time he sees him on TV.
I would be alright with her not remembering that she had gone to school with a person called Selina, but to utterly deny your own name?
Maybe I got her name wrong, you ask? Then wouldn’t she have corrected me?
Anyway, the whole thing just made me skeptical about greeting anyone else I went to school with all those many years ago.
I have decided that if I see a familiar face, I will just wait to see if they recognise me instead and save myself the embarrassment.
In fact, just last week, I ran into another high school acquaintance at an evening engagement.
She was waiting tables, I knew immediately it was her and her nametag confirmed that it was her, Bernadette. I don’t recall her second name.
She was in Drama Club, I think, and we were in different streams, so I wasn’t counting on her to remember me.
I did not go up to her to introduce myself because I didn’t want to know how she would react.
Instead, I sat in a corner, nursing the same drink all through the event’s programme, secretly hoping she would come up to me and say, “Hey, didn’t we go to school together?”
And I would say, “Oh my goodness, we did! I remember your name was Bernice, was it?”
“No, Bernadette. Isn’t it a small world?”
“It really is.”
Because secretly, I wish I stood out more in my teenage years than just being a wallflower who remembers everyone but no one remembers her.