I saw your picture in a box. The box was in a closet in my parent’s house. I smiled when I saw the picture. I took a few seconds and I put it, and a few other memorabilia, back in the box. My mom asked me if I ever heard from you again. I said no, not since I last saw him. I’m sure he’s good and happy and living the dream life, I told her. Oh, good for him, she said.
I few days later, I saw your name in the paper. No, It was not you. It was only another person with the same name. A common name, after all.
I mentioned you to a friend. She doesn’t know you. But she likes quirky stuff like that.
It’s been a while since I thought of you or heard of you. You moved. I remember we talked about it. You said you would. I imagine you did. It was a simple decision for you.
I moved here and there. I said I would. I did. It wasn’t that simple for me. But I knew i’d come back to stay. Either here or in that magical city. That’s what I told my friend.
After 20 years I saw you. No, not only your name. I saw you.
You were sitting at the coffee house I often eat at. You were with a man. You didn’t see me. I requested to sit on the other side (where the police crowd sits) in the back.
I saw you leave after you were finished eating. You left through the main entrance’s glass doors.
I sat there wondering about you. But I carried a normal conversation with my company.
A few days later I saw you on the other side of town. You were with a woman.
I saw you walk her to her car and she sped away. It was rushed, her driving. I was crossing the parking lot looking left-right-left (the way I was taught to do as a child. to watch for cars). You were on the right. I took a second look. It was you without a doubt. I hurried with the kids to my car. I saw you go back toward the pier. I left. I was with company. But I wondered if you moved back in town.
A month or so later I was sitting at the end of the community table of a little breakfast place I go to with friends. I saw someone opening the door. I looked because the glass door reflected the sun and it shined straight to my face. Whoa, it was blinding. So, I quickly looked back down at my fone. I was replying to an email.
And, then I saw a silhouette approaching my direction. Then the shadow was blocking my light. So I looked up. There you were. It was you.
you asked if I was…
But, before you said my name, I interrupted and said hello. I got up and I shook your hand and you laughed and didn’t take my hand, instead you hugged me. WOW, you said.
You asked what I was doing there and I answered I was meeting some friends for a quick bite but i was early because there was no traffic today. I asked if you would sit and join me for coffee. You ordered your coffee and while you did that I quietly wondered if this was what one would call ‘coincidence’.
You asked how I was. My family? My parents? Marriage? Kids? You asked.
My answers were short and vague and shallow with almost no personality at all.
You did most of the talking. I tried to look cool with a nonchalance look in my posture. You said you had been here almost 2 years ago, now. You moved here in January with your family. I asked how you could do that and why on earth you would leave the most magical city in the world and come back to this big dirty beautiful city. You said it was time. it was about time you said again.
I asked about your family. you said they, your parents and siblings, were still in the east. And your wife and kids were there, too. Your wife didn’t like it here for various reasons, you said. You said there were too many to mention. She and the kids were more comfortable with the east coast people.
I presumed you would not stay here long if all your family was on the other coast. But I didn’t ask.
You said something unbelievable happened. You kept saying ‘wow’. You said you saw me on the west side. Near the school. It was late spring, you said. I thought about it for a second to visualize the time and location, But your voice interrupted my thoughts when you said you saw me prior to that on the east side near the metro station. I was on my phone, you said. And just a few months ago you saw me with a group of women at a restaurant in the valley, you said. You said you were getting coffee across the street and ran toward the restaurant to put money in the meter and I was inside at a table. And I remembered that evening. But I didn’t see you. So, I asked you why you never stopped to say hello. You just shrugged your shoulders.
You said that you wondered if I would have even recognize you. I would have, I thought.
You said, before you saw me those few times, you found a book that I liked to read often. It was a poetry book. You said it was “my book of cheese”. That’s what you called that book, you reminded me. I half smiled. You said your friend had a copy of it in his house. It belonged to his girlfriend, you clarified. And then I saw you, I saw you, you repeated and you kept nodding your head left right left. It’s like a train making stops and you’re just present at each stop, you said. And I liked that phrase, I thought. I didn’t tell you I liked it.
And then you asked me if this was what one would call “synchronicity”.
I didn’t answer. Instead I laughed and I began to sing Sting’s song.
You laughed with me, too. But i know it was at my singing.
I asked how you were. I asked how you’d been. And we made small talk about work and even smaller talk about weather. You talked about your parents and their house. You talked about your sister’s house on the lake and the crazy summers spent there. You talked about calling her home the “suffer” island house . And we laughed about that. She’s still lovely, you said. You said they had five kids, now.
You talked about your life and its hiccups and cracks and misalignments. Mostly you talked about your wife and marriage. You talked about finding the meaning of it all. And you talked about time, the worth and the value of life. You talked about your separation.
You seemed so mature, yet a bit like a lost child. But I didn’t tell you.
I listened for about thirty minutes. But it seemed like only five. You noticed the time on your fone. And I asked if you had to leave. You said you had plenty of time. It was a day off and you said our conversation made you reflect. You said you were feeling a bit lost for the last five years. You smirked with your crooked smile and you said you were trying to make sense of things. You’re trying to bring peace to your life, you said. What can I do, you said. Really, tell me, because I have no idea what I’m doing and all I want is peace, you said. And you scratched your head and half-laughed a little.
So I took the opportunity to say a few words. You know, since you asked.
I don’t give advise, I told you. And it feels like I just met you, I said. I knew you before, but I don’t know who you’ve become, I told you. So I have no personal advise for you, I said.
But in general, I said:
life is too short to have misery. If your relationship is ruptured and you want to repair it, then try. If you want to save it, do it, I said. When you want something and you are willing to fight for it, and it’s worth the fight then you need to repair it, that’s what I said.
- But if you’re a person who is negative and just avoids things, then, you will not fix any problem. You will simply push problems and people away.
- But, also, you can’t be a pleaser. You can’t say “Yes, honey” all the time. You can’t sit around trying to please everyone, I said. You have to address the problems-the issues. Address the things and people who are causing problems. You shouldn’t avoid conflicts just to please the others. Because, in the end you’ll just become a liar or a person who is always indirect, I said.
- And you can’t take over everything and control every situation. You shouldn’t be a control freak! Controllers don’t repair things. They’ll just do anything to settle the situation. They will sweep it under the rug or hide it in closet. And they don’t even apologize when they’re wrong because they want to control you, the situation and everything else in between. Don’t be one of those people. And don’t be with one either. It’s tiring.
- But, this doesn’t mean you should victimize yourself, I said. You’re an adult and step up or step off or you just have to own it, I said.
- But, that doesn’t mean you should go around vomiting your problems to friends and family if you’re not going to attempt to repair what is broken, I said. You can’t vent and throw tantrums and dishes across the room and storm out and them come back and act like nothing happened. Because next month you’ll do the same. And, fuck, it’s tiring. Acting-up, over acting, ‘acting’ in general, and vomiting, that’s so damn tiring, I said.
I just continued to tell you that conflicts and fuck-ups in a relationship are inevitable. That’s what I said. It’s just learning and willing to take time to repair things, I said.
I asked you if that made sense. And you didn’t answer, you just smiled.
I can’t do handstands, you said. There are some things that others want you to do but you just can’t do, you said.
Well, I can’t do cartwheels, I said.
And we both looked up at the ceiling. Probably wondering where the conversation was going.
We laughed. Who knows why, but we did.
Then, I got a text from my friends. I told you that they were looking for a parking spot and they’d be right in.
You said it made sense. My general advise made sense, you said. And then you said you had already seen a therapist and she had a similar speech.
So I laughed. it was loud, my laugh! And I put my hand out and asked you for fity-dolla.
You laughed again. And you got up and you said when there’s no love there is only paperwork to repair.
You said, you can’t force things. It is not the natural way. If it feels like you’re forcing things then it doesn’t feel right and you should attempt to only repair things that are capable of fixing.
I said it was nice seeing you and my friends were coming soon, so, I said you can join us but it would be boring talk about work and women things. You said you were picking up a few friends to scout some location for a shoot. Then you said, you’d like to join me for another coffee another time.
So I shrugged my shoulders and said good bye and you gave me your fone number. We hugged and I smiled at you and told you it was nice to see you again. I told you to practice doing handstands. And you said it was not in your nature.
You asked if I still liked the ‘book of cheese”. Well, I have cheese on my bedside table, I said.
You smiled and then you asked me what I thought about ‘synchronicity’. I smiled and laughed. And I said, if it’s too difficult to spell, it probably isn’t very important*.
I never mentioned to you that I saw you at the beach and at all those other places.
I thought about the preceding tonight… when i got home something happened that made me think of it.
I was at a birthday brunch. It started when someone mentioned a spider. “i’m not scared of spiders” one of the guests said. I replied, “well, unless you walk through a spider’s web.” She remembered the time we were out driving on laurel cyn. I spotted a sign that had been tagged with some graffiti. I wanted to pull over to see it because i liked the font and how the paint ran down. I thought the it said “spider”. The words and running paint looked like the word and shape of ‘spider’.
We pulled over and we both felt a spider web as we walked to the sign. but we laughed because we assumed we had psyched ourselves out. I got closer and the signed said ‘Inspire” not “Spider”.
but i still felt a spider on me. And we check for spiders. but there was nothing.
When we got back to the car, I felt a spider on me and i’m not convinced it wasn’t on me. so I keep checking. And, of course (!), on my lap was a huge 2 inch spider. harry little thing with fuzzy legs. my first reaction was to flick it. and it landed on my friend. she killed it.
at brunch that’s what we talked about. briefly.
Later that night, I went down the street to pick up Dani where she was having movie night at her friend’s house. Even though he lives about 3 blocks away, I decide to drive because I was not dressed to walk out (even in the dark!).
Alex came with me. As we’re walking to the car I saw her doing a “spider” walk. It’s the walk when you move your hands and arms in front of you checking for spider webs. It was all clear and no webs were on our path to the car.
When we arrived to building where Dani is, I asked Alex to get her because I’m not dressed to be walking ANYWHERE. I tell her how to get into the building and give her directions to the apartment, and I asked her to do the “spider” walk because there are tall trees and hedges.
I can see her through the rear view mirror and as soon as she walks in the building the pop song comes on.
i laugh! and I take a foto so that I can show Alex.
I wish she could hurry to hear it but… at least i took a picture. She said we were in sync with spiders.
In sync with spiders and creepy crawlies. um… yeah, lovely.
So, the words ‘in sync’ made me think of the “synchronicity and coincidence…” story.
*I’m not sure what I think of synchronicity and it’s importance.