Pondering Brief Encounters

Definition; Brief encounters; those tiny little moments when you connect with someone else while sipping a coffee, or the people you sat beside on the bus or in a restaurant. Perhaps people you met in a bar many years before who you shared a laugh and a dance or two with.

Do you ever wonder what happens later on in their lives? Where did they end up and how did their lives change after your brief encounter? How did their lives unfold?

One time my Sweetheart and I were out for dinner at a trendy little restaurant in Kitsilano (you know this was long before the twins were born). Every table in the place was full and they were just a tad too close together. Sitting at the table beside us was a “normal” looking couple. While talking to one another they ordered a couple drinks, nothing excessive, and some appies.

As the evening worn on their conversation got more and more animated. It was a tad uncomfortable for us (madly in love as we are to this day) because even though they were talking with somewhat hushed voices we could hear basically everything they were saying to one another. And what they were saying was getting quite unpleasant. The essence of their conversation was that she wanted to get married and he didn’t. Ever.

Eventually they got up and left, together, holding hands. The holding hands part made me wonder if they would resolve their differences. I often wonder what happened to that couple.

Also from the days old, many, many years ago, I would go to the Cafe Zen in Kits for coffee and breakfast. At the Zen I would see another customer, who’s name was/is Sandy. We would chat amicably, even share a table on the rare occasion that our little cafe was busy.

I never knew her last name. I only know that she was a nurse and worked shift work. At the time I also worked shift work and like Sandy I enjoyed having breakfast at odd times of the day.

Where is she now? I have no idea. I will probably never know.

Do you ever wonder what happened to the people who’s eyes you caught for the briefest of moments? Perhaps I am reminiscing about my years in Kits, but do you ever wonder what happens to the people you have had brief encounters with? Anybody else?


  1. Ironic timing on your post ….

    On Facebook, this evening, I noticed that a friend of ours (one temporarily out of the workplace) has just become friends with a former student. I took the time to look at the friends list of the former student and saw about a dozen names of people I once knew who are now in their early 20’s. Got me to wondering how they (and others) are all doing.

    It isn’t just the chance encounters, it’s also those people with whom we once worked, went to school, married(!) that can cross our minds & set us to some mild wondering.

  2. I do wonder, excessively. Working at a school (college in my case), you have many intense meetings with students where they spill their guts to you, and you help them solve their problems..then never see them again. And always wonder what happened to them? Some I’ve found on facebook, some come back to visit me, 5 or 10 years later, but hundreds of them, I just wonder about.
    This is one of those things I ponder at night, while I am awake feeding the girls.

  3. Caitlyn; so many encounters from so many people to ponder! and Wendy, that is when this idea came to me as well; I was sitting in the glider holding one of the twins when I cast my mind back to 1980-something. The old days…

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