The other night, I was walking home from work, and it was about a million degrees, and I was sweating, and my shoes were killing me, and as I was limped home I was just MISERABLE.
I was at that point in miserableness where I was pretty much whimpering with every limping step I took, when I saw a familiar figure two blocks ahead, headed right toward me.
"Is that my father?" I thought. Well, it sure looked like him, but I was just too far to tell. And, what, with the million degree heat making the air all wavy, maybe it was just a mirage or something.... But he was headed right toward me. And carrying a big bag of fast food.
As he got a little closer, he shifted the extra-large fast food cup under one arm, so that his hand was free to wave to me, in case I didn't see him. A big obvious wave, like, "Yoo Hoo, over here!"
That's when I realized, "What the hell would my father be doing here?" He doesn't really live close enough to just drop by. My first thought was, "But it's a good surprise. Especially with a big cold drink." My second thought was, "Oh god, something so serious has happened that he couldn't tell me over the phone... please don't let it be something horrible..."
I waved back, he waved, and I thought, "Alright. He's waving, that's good. And he's got an appetite, and figures I will too, so that's good." Although, the truth is, I think my father could think about food in any situation. Maybe even more so in a time of tragedy.
Finally, my father and I were just across the street from each other, waiting for the traffic to slow so that we could cross to meet each other, when I thought, "Hey wait, I don't think that's my father."
I crossed to the corner where the man was standing and he looked and me, kind of confused and said, "Oh." And I knew it was weird - I know he saw me wave back to him - and he must've been waving to someone behind me. I didn't want to turn around and look behind me. I was glad I had called my boyfriend and he said he'd come meet me - What if this was some sort of weird elaborate mugging scheme where try to look like your relative... (gee, could I be just a little paranoid?) I didn't really know what to say.
"I thought you were someone I knew..." I said. Actually, I was thinking of saying "I thought you were my father" but I thought that was just too weird. Especially, it occurred to me, because maybe this guy was somehow trying to hit on me. That'd be weird, but I guess it would be possible. And then it'd be kind of mean to say, "I thought you were my father," to this old guy.
"Me too," he said, "I thought you were my daughter. You look just like her!"
"Oh. Weird," I said, "Because, actually, I thought you looked like my dad."
"I told her I'd go out to pick up some food. I thought maybe she came down to help me carry it. I think she's even wearing the same thing..."
"I couldn't figure out what my father would be doing around here."
"I'm just visiting. I hope you meet her. She lives on that street (pointing about 2 blocks from my apartment), so maybe you'll see each other sometime. If you see a girl that looks just like you, you can tell her that you met her father..."
"Yeah, that'd be weird. Ok, well, take care..."
"Yeah, you too. Nice to meet you..."
And that was it. How strange is that? I felt like I had some weird time-traveling experience or something. Or caught my father leading a double life. It was so weird.
A few seconds later, my boyfriend met up with me on the street corner. I pointed to the man, who was now headed down the block, and asked my boyfriend, "Who does that look like?" He named a guy that we knew from the neighborhood.
"Uh... But don't you think he looks like my father?" I asked.
"Nah, I don't see it."
I guess it would've been even weirder if the guy had just disappeared though. Yeah, that would've really been a story to tell.