OK, yes, the running joke about the college from which I graduated is that if you don’t know where someone’s from, you assume twenty minutes outside of Boston. Sure, I did come home the summer after freshman year with the faintest trace of a Boston accent when speaking certain words. And true, there was little on-campus debate about what team should win in any Sox-Yankees matchups.

But this is just plain crazy for a gal who graduated from a small, Catholic liberal arts college in Vermont.

I was feeling relaxed and chatty on a Thursday night, feeling my muscles loosen after two glasses of champagne in a room with brilliant views of the waterfront. As I laughed with a small cluster of people, a man approached and asked me what college I had attended. As I looked past him to the other man standing nearby, I burst into laughter.

I’d attended college with Other Guy, who I later learned had spent several moments over the course of the evening remarking on how he  just knew that he’d gone to school with me, but hadn’t wanted to ask for fear of having misidentified me. We’d even worked for the same company for about a year, but the staff being as large and departmentalized as it is, we’d never crossed paths in that environment.

A night later, I walked into a play with Nicole and found our seats. Just as I was about to ask the gentleman next to me to move his arm so I could sit, I heard my name spoken out loud.

I looked up to see a man with whom I shared many a laugh and tear for three of our four college years. We had drifted apart during our senior year and only communicated a small handful of times in the years since, but I know my face still lit up in delighted surprise. I was giving him a hug before I even realized.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the run-ins I’ve encountered since the move. About a week ago, dinner with friends was highlighted by an unexpected run-in with another friend; I’ve seen people at least with familiar faces with a frequency that has left me more than a little incredulous.

The circles do run small – I’ve known that for some time now. But this small?

I had no idea.

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