By Manijeh Badiozamani
Khosrow and Manijeh dressed as hippies for a Halloween party
“You have the memory of an elephant,” my husband, Khosrow often tells me.
I suppose it is a good thing, and I take it as a compliment. I remember places, recall events, and seldom forget a face.
When Khosrow was a student at Northwestern University, I met and knew most of his fellow graduate classmates. There was a young man by the last name of McMillan. Everyone called him Mac. He was short, plain in appearance, wore black rimmed glasses, and was always very quiet, at least I did not find him talkative.
Eventually Khosrow finished his studies and we moved from Evanston to Indianapolis. Then we moved to Boise, Idaho and I got a job at a brokerage firm. Learning about the stock market with its ups and downs, and the myriads of new stuff every day, was so exciting that I totally forgot about renewing my teaching license! Letting my teaching certificate expire was totally out of character for me. I’m a great advocate of keeping one’s professional licenses up-to-date.
I was ready to go to grad school to get a Ph.D. when I thought about it again. By then the rules in Idaho had changed and to renew the license one had to have a certain college credit through continuing education, in addition to taking a battery of tests. I enrolled in the required course.
On the first day of class, while waiting for the professor to show up, I looked around and suddenly there was Mac, smaller and older, but definitely Mac. What was he doing in that class? He already had a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. I thought I’d better say ‘Hello’ just to be sure he was really McMillan.
“Hi, you look familiar. Have you ever lived in Illinois? Around Chicago, Evanston area?”
Mac looked at me with expressionless eyes and mumbled something that amounted to a negative response. So, I did not further the conversation. Then I looked to my right, and there was a gentleman who looked awfully familiar.
“Have I seen you somewhere, maybe recently?” I asked him.
Suddenly, from the corner of my eyes, I noticed Mac was looking at me in a strange way! Oh, boy, I bet he thinks this is my way of meeting guys!
As it turned out, I had seen the second gentleman at a German festival two weeks prior, where everyone was doing the chicken dance. So, I was right, I had seen him before.
Less than a month later, there was an arts and craft show at a park in Boise. Lots of folks were walking, browsing, and shopping. Suddenly I spotted Mac. I pointed to him and asked Khosrow, “Isn’t this guy McMillan from the geology department at Northwestern all those years ago?”
“Yes, it is Mac alright!” We both walked up to him and this time my husband started the conversation.
“Hi Mac! What are you doing in Boise?” Mac lightened up, exchanged pleasantries with Khosrow, and introduced us to his wife and daughter. At this point, I had to say something.
“When I asked you in class if you have lived in Chicago area you responded negatively,” I said cheerfully. His wife answered me.
“Well, he thought you were hitting on him, or you were using a pickup line!” she said chuckling. Obviously, he must have told his wife!
But one mystery for me was to find out why he was in that class.
Soon we found out. His wife had received a promotion with her job, and they had moved to Boise. Mac had decided to teach high school science, and had to take the course, which was a requirement for certification.
We all laughed about my lame “pickup line.”
But that’s what sometimes happens when you never forget a face. You get accused of all sorts of nefarious things.
MANIJEH BADIOZAMANI is a literary non-fiction writer whose stories have been published on the web and in anthologies. She was born in Tehran, Iran, and has lived in the United States for the past fifty years. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Idaho. She has taught at the college level and has also worked in the private sector.
Manijeh Badiozamani’s latest book, One Summer in My Life, A Memoir in Short Stories, chronicles her life in a series of short stories that offer glimpses of a life lived in two cultures, rich in friends, ventures, and love. Published by Hallard Press, it is available on Amazon in both print and ebook formats.