The absolute best part was when he told me that he too felt something that day on the steps, but it was when our hands touched. This was it! Serendipity had finally figured out how to finish us off and soon we would be awash in marital bliss.
After a few more emails, we exchanged phone numbers and did the only responsible thing two adults could do in this day and age, we started to text one another. I would soon learn that we shared a career in service and a love for music that is uncommon to most. We continued to text and discover our commonalities and the quirks that would interest the other for what seemed like days. I finally got the nerve to plan a trip out his way the following month, I just felt certain that when I told him he would immediately begin to plan our dates. His mind would begin racing with wild feelings and his heart would be set on seeing my face again. I told him about my incidental plans and expressed a vague suggestion that we have dinner, just possibly. I admit, I may have been coy and unsure about it, but I did it. I was working my part to assist the universe in putting the two of us together again, it simply had to work. After all, this was serendipity, right? Our meeting was the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way, according to the internet at least.
But soon I would have my answer, which was no answer. There were no suggestions of where to stay or to avoid, no cuisine or sights that were a must, there was nothing. It felt as if I were driving 100mph toward a cliff, waiting for my co-driver to push the break and they never did, so I was sent careening into nowhere. Lost. Lost, hurt and confused about what I thought had occurred to get me to this point. I was just lost and I had nothing to say about it further. I chalked it all up to a cruel joke or an inflated imagination that had made more of it than it actually was. The only blessing was that no one except for my best friend, who happily went on the trip with me, knew that I had gotten my hopes up so high to just see them crushed to bits. I managed to make a few more attempts at communication only to come up short every time. I resigned myself to the fact that he must be married and just wanted to be left alone. I had overplayed my hand and turned something very simple into something overbearing and more complex than he wanted to deal with.
It would take me days and weeks to quit trying, a short email here and the next one a little longer. Still only silence on his part…how unbelievably disappointing that the universe would allow such a devoted romantic to be crushed under the weight of her own hopes. I would lay awake sometimes at odd hours, staring at the wall and trying to convince myself that this is not how the universe works. People who suffer tragedies do not happen upon their soul mate on cement steps in the city. It makes more sense to think that they have to have time to grieve and move on. That is how the world works, logically and with purpose, emotions and hopes are for children.
I would keep my plans for the trip with my friend and she would accept, even overlook, the fact that on every corner I was likely looking for his face. See, even when I was denied the fate I thought was to be mine, I still kept the hope that my chick flick ending would occur. It might even be more dramatic when it came as a surprise, who knows? But deep down I really wanted to find out.
Months passed and years as well. I took the high road and would message him with a holiday wish, or I would see something on the news and wanted to make sure he was alright. At times I would get a brief reply of gratitude, but it never went further. Two years would pass with these noncommittal communications and I eventually decided to just let it go entirely. I never really pursued anyone else, just concentrated on building my life and being a happy woman.
Until that email came, the one where he was at the conference again but in another city.