One cold Wednesday in November the hookah bar was in full swing. It had not started to snow yet. Department stores like Macy’s had put up Christmas decorations, so did some major streets. Demond peeked inside the smoky bar and noticed someone familiar, but could not remember where he could have seen or met the person. He walked over to where the person was sitting.
“Hello,” He ventured to say like he would to an old friend. It sounded like “Elllllooo.”
“Hello,” The man replied with a strange look on his face. Visitors to New York are generally skeptical of talking to strangers, especially in a hookah bar.
“Pardon me,” Demond said. “You look very familiar. Like we have met somewhere before.”
“Let’s see. Where have I been? Nowhere really! I work in Miami.”
“No, no. It was outside of America. I feel like I’ve met you outside of America.” Demond was still trying to remember.
“Only time I was outside of America was when I was on draft duty in Vietnam.”
Then he seemed to remember and added “oh and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi.”
Demond touched his temples with his right hand fingers like he had an instant flash of memory.
“Well of course. Could it be? Could it be you are Mr. Oben?”
“Oben? No. I’m Dr. Owen Martin.”
“Dr. Martin. I’m Demond. You remember? You were my teacher. You taught me English, and mathematics.”
“Oh my. It’s been so long and you have changed. You are taller and heavier. What are doing here?”
Owen remembered it was Demond who had stolen the mosquito nets from his family. He had not liked it. He wondered what could have brought Demond to America.
Demond told Owen that now he was a citizen of US and was married. He lied that he had a partnership in the Spice of Life and offered to help him if he needed anything.
“I’ll take you up on that. Nice to meet you Demond. Take care.” Owen said as he shook his hand.