Lunchtime comes, and I have no idea what to do or where to sit, obviously. A girl who had been in my math class the previous period, Jessica, sees me looking confused and invites me to join her at her table. I accept. I eat with them for a month or two before finding another crowd to spend the rest of the semester with. Jessica and I had a few classes together, and we stayed friendly through the rest of my year there, and vaguely in touch for the next couple of years until a bit after we started college, though we never became close friends or anything.
I always thought of her invitation as one of those small kindnesses that ends up being a much bigger deal than anyone realizes at the time; the sort of event that some people point to as a reason to be a kind person in general. That could have ended up being an awful year for me, and an awful semester in particular, since it wouldn't be until September that I would meet the only good friends I would find at that school. But my friendship with Jessica really set the tone for a year of strange contentment for me, where almost nothing at that school made me genuinely happy, but somehow the sum of a bunch of polite and cordial and palatable parts led to a whole that I was able to put up with quite well, and that I actually look back fondly on.
Anyway, that's not the point of this post. The point of this post is this: Through the magic of the internet, Jessica and I became Facebook friends a few months or a year ago. We chatted briefly via messages back and forth. I thanked her again for inviting me to that lunch table 11 years earlier. (I say "again" because she responded and said that I'd mentioned this event in the message I signed in her yearbook in June 1997, using very similar wording about small kindness becoming a big deal and what have you. Strange how my brain works, that this was the one thing I remembered about her both times.) We did the whole "What's new with you in the past 10 years, ha ha" thing. Not much is new when you put it that way! And then we moved on and haven't really talked since.
She just posted that "25 random things about me" meme that's been going around. (25? Lame. I did 100!) And in it, she mentioned that she "really want[s] to have at least 2 more children", but that she's "secretly terrified that [she] wont get remarried before [she's] too old to have them". 2 more children? Remarried? She totally lied that nothing much has been new with her lately!
I flipped through some of her Facebook pictures. The kid that's probably hers is, well I'm not good with kids' ages, but this one is probably at least 3 or 4. I'm still having trouble getting used to peers of mine going through certain life stages. I'm getting used to marriage. But having kids is still a weird one for me. And having kids too old to be called toddlers, and (I assume) getting divorced? Wow. The "strange train we call life" just keeps chugging along, doesn't it?