Since the stroke happened, one of the things I have really and truly dreaded, is seeing people who knew me before the stroke. I wonder what they will see, think and notice. What will they compare and will the "like" the post-stoke person? For the past couple of years, I have only had that with a handful of people due to the fact I lived abroad for so long. Most of the people I know here don’t know the pre-stroke me, and the ones that do, hadn’t really seen me that recently or often. But, in the past month, I have had two of those situations. One planned and one not.
The first one was when Christopher sent me a message on Facebook that he was going to be in Vegas. I was happy to see him, but felt very intimidated as well. Christopher and I spent most of our time together at work. We went out a few times for drinks or food, but mostly our interaction was at the office. On the day we were to meet, I decided to leave town. Partly because I forgot, but I think partly because I just didn’t want to deal with it. Just as I was on my was out of town, my phone rang and it was Christopher and so, against my self protective instincts, I decided to meet up with him later that afternoon.
Last Friday evening, I was out for a drink at a place I had never heard of before here in Las Vegas. Then at one point, standing less than 15 feet away from me, was my friend Stephen who I know from When we both lived in Delhi. Stephen and I, along with a small group of people spent quite a lot of time together. I would say that if everyone was in town, we saw each other at least once a week on average. To see him here in Vegas was shocking, to say the least. I suddenly felt like the spotlight was on and there I was, unprepared. I felt awkward and didn’t really know what to say. We agreed to meet up again during his stay in town. I spent the next day both hoping he would call and hoping he wouldn’t. Then on Sunday I got the message that they would be by the pool at a hotel here and I was invited.
As with Christopher, I almost backed out. And as with Christopher, I am glad I didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t expect anything to be different, and I know that a lot of the fear is just that, fear, some imaginary scenario I have looping through my head. If either one of them noticed anything different, neither anything or acted any different than I remember. Conversations might have been a bit different than before as time had past, we had all been through some pretty major life experiences. I was not the only one to be dealing with loss and change and grieving over the past years and months.
After the intimidation wore off, which was pretty quick, I had an amazing time catching up with both of them. And as usual, each time I break through the fear of what I think is or might be, I almost always discover that I was really fearful of nothing.