Yesterday at lunch. Somewhere in Dover. As I sat down after ordering our Japanese Beef teriyaki set, the woman sitting at the next table smiled and asked if I’m Vicky.
I nodded, having no clue as to who she is. CTSS PSG? My sister’s friend? I looked at her son sitting opposite her for some clue, rambled through my memory bank and had to finally admit to her with an embarressment that I can’t remember her.
I’m GK, she, said, giving me a Chinese name.
Are you from NUS? I asked.
Her face lighted up, yes!
She nodded. I took BBC in my first year.
No, Bio A, B and Chem.
Biology? I was pretty sure I don’t know anyone from Biology.
She rattled off a list of names. None was familiar.
How do you remember my name and face? I asked in awe. After all, it’s almost 30 years since I graduated.
I often see your name and photo in the papers. My memory still hasn’t failed me, she replied.
Really? When? Where?
Aaron, sitting opposite, offered helpfully, must be that news with Cruz, the one you donated to him, you know, with Lioness Club.
My head, already thick with haze, rolled my eyes at him. How can it be that? An advertisement with my name in print, among hundreds of name?
As a last resort, I asked if she is a teacher. She was, but had already left the service and is now a homemaker. I suspect she may be from another friend’s teacher group, although that friend, I’m pretty sure, would be just as blur as me. She couldn’t even remember any of our Chem (hons) classmates.
After chatting for another few minutes, we exchanged phone numbers and she left.
This has happened quite often lately – some strangers approaching me and saying they know me, but I would usually be able to piece the connection quite quickly, until yesterday. Perhaps I should act like a celebrity – acknowledge them with a smile and wave and be on my way.
Who am I kidding. I should just admit that my memory is failing me. Sigh…