I knew he was coming. I’d never actually met him. Dan had told me he’d show up at my door while Dan was in Spain for the weekend. Sure enough, in the middle of the week Dave (LargeDave, actually. We call him this because he is quite tall) knocks on the giant doors to the huis on Justus Lipsuisstraat–only a few steps from the Ring Road. Actually, it was Stephanie who answered the door. She was visiting me–a few days away from Madrid had landed her in Belgium. Their meeting was unexpected because 1) LargeDave was just kind of showing up at an unmarked door half-way around the world and 2) LargeDave and Stephanie had actually taken a class together while at U of I some years back. And here they were, meeting only sort of by chance in a little Belgian town.
Dan and Dave were roommates back in Illinois, Dan had planned to share his space again for a few days while Dave was visiting. But as it turns out the room was too small (Dave is quite tall) and so he ended up spending most of the time in my room and sleeping on the couch in the basement. We became quite good friends.
Back at U of I Dave would come to my parties and I would randomly see him at coffee shops and weddings–wondering why we both felt so displaced yet spoke as if not a moment (or a mile) had passed.
Last summer we both lived in the same apartment complex. Funny how we never ran into each other there but randomly found ourselves face to face over caffeinated beverages even after I’d moved away.
A few weeks ago LargeDave moved to New York. It just so happens that he moved to 500 Riverside Drive–my exact old address–way up there on the Upper West Side, only a block or two from Columbia. And it makes me so happy to know that our paths have crossed again, even though we’re miles apart.