I decided to spring a surprise visit on an old friend, Willie, today. He runs a printing press in the industrial park. We first met some 20 years ago, when they were operating out of an old shophouse in town. They used to print our namecards and stationery.
An ingenious guy (and self-confessed geek) who loves tinkering around with machinery and technology, he was roped in to run his father's printing press though he would prefer working in the hi-tec industry anytime. While I was still in the design business, we used to sit around his printing shop, drinking coffee in the afternoons, chatting about everything under the sun (especially his love of deep sea fishing) while his mom managed the business. Their old shophouse was eventually sold and they moved to an industrial district in the suburbs.
When his wife was pregnant with their first son, I was also expecting YK. Both boys were born several days apart. Being so caught up with work and family life, our coffee sessions eventually disappeared and we barely stayed in touch, though we managed to bump into each other several times through the years.
I was in the vicinity this morning and decided to pop in for a visit. When I walked into their printing press, everything looked the same as before. I spotted his mom, who must be in her 80s now but still as sprightly as ever, and what a joyous reunion we had! I sat by her, chatting about work, family, her grandkids and travels (she's a globetrotter!). Her sister (who's almost 80) who helps around in the office, could barely recognise me at first. A couple of long service staff are still working there. Some said I've grown fatter, others said slimmer and darker, some remembered me wearing those huge glasses... whatever it is, we've all grown older.
As I was about to leave, Willie walked in, totally surprised to see me! We went down for coffee, just like the good old days. As we sat in the canteen, reminiscing the past, with the soft rain falling outside, more old friends from the printing industry stopped by. Some, I have not seen for almost 20 years. There was so much laughter and chatter around our table.
Ah, it was great catching up with everyone again!