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Richard, met again (#27).

 “I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen?”

I took a walk around my neighborhood this afternoon. While walking past my junior high school, a familiar face walked into the basketball court.

“Richard?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you remember me?”

“Yeah, we used to play basketball together. I don’t remember your name though.”

“Yeah, it’s been almost over ten years. It’s Andy.”

Indeed, ever since I was around 10 years old, I would walk to the school and play pick-up games with Richard and a bunch of guys ranging in age. The love for the game brought us all together. Richard is now 29, five years my elder. He must have just begun high school when we had played together.

We ended up catching up, as we were no longer 10 and 15 years old. He’s been married almost a year now. Still plays often, still looking in great shape. He was and still is a decent guy, always kept out of trouble and stayed away from all the bad kids and drugs.

I was one of, if not the youngest, guys who played there. I remember Yohan, an early 30s guy who, along with his son, played often. I recall him saying his daughter was around my age then, and that we might get married one day. Hah!

Richard still keeps in touch with one of the originals, Brandon. I remember bringing Brandon over once, because he needed to use the bathroom. The family was shocked, seeing such a tall guy at 6′3″ enter the house. The two went to Sunny Hills High, but had already graduated by the time I entered high school. Brandon lives in L.A. now, great to see that they kept in touch all this time.

Shooting hoops with Richard brought back all the old memories. The drinks machine in the back, where everyone hoarded at the end of each game. The blue Powerade, yes. We reminisced about the old days, without iPads and smart phones, where all the kids and adults played outdoors. We shared our concern about kids at this age who are more into electrifying everything rather than enjoying the physical outdoors.

Richard has been re-met, but I wonder… how many people have I looked at all my life and never seen?

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