As I slogged through all the requirements towards my math degree, a team of fellow students on the same academic path followed me from class to class. While some became study mates or comrades, many of them I never acknowledged, including this one dude Michael.
Well, it turns out, unbeknownst to me, Michael and I were distant cousins. Right before senior year I was at a bar mitzvah surrounded by extended family that I haven’t seen in forever and frankly didn’t know very well at all. One older relative caught wind I attended Binghamton University and mentioned her son was also a student there. She showed me a picture – and it was that Michael guy. Fancy that. But the knowledge that he and I perhaps shared a few strands of DNA didn’t change our relationship – we still never made contact before, during, or after class, or any classes were shared since.
Years passed. A couple weeks before I graduated I drove some younger friends around helping them scope out rentals for next year. I took them to look at one place, and coincidentally Michael happened to be currently living there. So as my pals examined the house I found myself suddenly alone with Michael in his den, unable to escape conversation any longer.
After a minute of awkward silence I broke the ice with, “You know we’re related, right?”
“Yeah,” he said, barely moving his eyes from the television set.
We never spoke again.