things that happen and don’t happen

Right now I’m sitting outside at a coffeehouse with my glasses off. I kind of like a blurry coffeehouse. Without my glasses on, the guy sitting across the way looks pretty attractive, the brick wall inside looks like it has hair combs stapled to it, and I can glare at the family across the way under the guise of squinting at something just over their heads. Who the hell brings their cranky toddler to a crowded coffeehouse at 10:30 on a Wednesday? That baby should be asleep.

I’m here at this coffeehouse working on my weekly posts for the Paranormal Insider. Did I tell you I write for the Paranormal Insider? This is my first gig writing for a weblog I didn’t create, and sadly enough, writing about something besides myself is kind of a challenge. But it’s interesting so far, and the subject matter has yet to make me sleep with the lights on. As long as the call’s not coming from inside the house, I think I’ll be okay.

A few months ago I found two websites belonging to a pair of sisters I knew as a child. Their family moved away when we were all quite young, but our parents have kept in touch and I’ve seen them a few times since.

When I think of Meg, I always think of this particular old photo in one of my parents’ albums. It’s a photo of Meg and my sister Megan when they were five or six. Both of them are dressed in grownup clothes and grinning for the camera. Meg’s wearing a fancy dress and Megan’s wearing a suit; the photo may have been taken during the phase in which Megan and I were fond of having fake weddings with our mom as the officiant.

Now that I think about it, it might have been me and not Megan in the photo.

But my point is that I find it endlessly interesting to read their websites and hear about what they’re doing now. To see that photo and others from that time, you’d never know that Megan would grow up to be fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, that Leah would help rebuild houses in Mississippi, that Meg would be such a good artist.

When I found Meg’s website, I was surprised to find out that she paints. But I don’t know why I was surprised; after all, it doesn’t make sense to assume that nothing’s changed about a person since the last thing you heard about them, or the last photo you saw. I didn’t think Meg was going to spend her life as a fake bride, and you wouldn’t look at photos of me when I was a kid and think that I’d become a 29-year-old who loves Fraggle Rock and dressing up in fancy clothes.

Oh, wait.