There is a poetic juxtaposition found in everyday life; a yin for every yang, a push for every pull, a love for every hate. I can spend my entire day assisting with a murder case, astounded at the sheer brutality which occasionally seeps into the human soul, and then that evening I can rediscover the inexplicable beauty found in a chance encounter between two destined beings.
You can meet the most important people in your life under the most banal circumstances. And yet, that whisper of a spark, that fluttering of magic, that taste of excitement still permeates the air. I have learned that the second you think you have your life all figured out, a curve ball will make its way to you. You can swing for it or dive out of the way. The call is yours alone.
I adore people-watching, I am far too nosy to simply mind my own business and stay focused on my little corner of the world. I am a shameless eavesdropper (in my defense, it’s not always intentional, I’m just completely incapable of trying to drown out voices if they are close to me). I love seeing snippets of people’s lives and making up a story to go with it. I find the prospect of taking a tiny peek into another person’s existence invigorating and refreshing. I like to blame this trait on my inner writer, excusing any lapse in decorum with a sheepish tilt of the head, explaining the insatiable desire of an author’s curiosity.
You can find a story in any moment, if only you stop long enough to watch the world unfold around you. The chiming of my low fuel sensor forced me to take the exit near my home to fill up the tank (shh, don’t tell my family, they all hate when I let it get so low that the car has to physically yell at me. Admittedly their frustration is warranted- a few years ago I had to be rescued on a back country road on Christmas Eve when I pushed my luck too far and ran out of gas). I dutifully pulled into the only open pump and got out of the car. Across from me was a large truck with an adorable dog poking her head out the back window. The owner stood waiting for his monstrous fuel tank to be satiated (as someone who once drove a 1985 Ford F-250, I can feel the pain a trip to the pump costs). On the other side of his pump was a cute woman, around the same age with curly brown hair and a button nose.
I tried not to be too obvious as I listened to them nonchalantly joking and sharing pleasantries. He slipped in the fact that he was divorced as she giggled beside him before saying goodbye and climbing back into her own car. Now, if there is anything I have learned in life, it is that it only takes two seconds of blind courage to change your stars; for the better or for the worst. As I stood there waiting, I couldn’t help but notice the way she hesitated before leaving, finally stepped out of her car and subtly sneaking up beside him with a little slip of paper in her hand. She handed it to him with a smile. He grinned back as he put it in his pocket and said something I couldn’t distinguish. They shared a final knowing glance before she got back in her car and drove away.
Now, personally, I am a sucker for a good love story. And there is nothing that carries the same unfettered excitement as the first meeting with someone who makes your heart flutter. The writer in me was imagining their first phone call shortly followed by quippy texts. What would their first date be like? Would it be a classy restaurant complete with a bottle of nice red wine, or pizza, beer and bowling? Would she call her friends afterwards with cautious optimism? Would she brag about how cute he was, or the way he pulled her chair out for her at dinner? Would he go to work tired because he couldn’t stop thinking about her the night before? Will they take that adorable dog on a trip to the coast together? How would he propose? Would it be a summer or winter wedding? What would they name their first child? Will I see them a few years from now at the same gas station and not even realize that I was once the only privy observer to their first chance meeting?
I am a writer; I will internally edit their future, allowing their fictional selves to soar through the clouds before hitting some turbulence. But in the end, my vision of them will always be together, making it work and loving one another through the mundane and difficult moments of life. They will still hold hands at 83, explaining to their grand babies what a gas station was (because fingers crossed, maybe we will have other options by then). I will write them a happily ever after that I don’t know they will ever experience. But I can hope. Because that is the beauty of writers; we can create something out of nothing, we can pen the happy endings that so few of us get to see in our lifetimes. We can right wrongs, cure as, and yes- even make two people fall in love.