Sunday, 5 January 2014


“They sat together in the park
As the evening sky grew dark
She looked at him and he felt a spark tingle to his bones
‘Twas then he felt alone and wished that he’d gone straight
And watched out for a simple twist of fate.”

Bob Dylan

From the café I watch the street, waiting for you to appear. I promise myself that if I don’t see you I will give up – accept defeat and move on. It need only be a quick glimpse; your face in a bus window, the outline of you in a shop. I can’t be sure but it feels like our fate has already been decided. 

My glasses steam up as I sip my tea and for a moment I panic that I might miss you. I hold the cup close to my face, careful not to breathe so hard that I create a cloud of steam for you to hide behind.

I wait for a long time. Twice I think I see you, both times my heart stops and my tongue slides involuntarily along my bottom lip. It wasn’t you but it helps to imagine that it was. I have played out the moment inside my mind so many times that I’m not sure if reality could match up. I realise how ridiculous I am being, how futile this hope is. But you have become my new disease; I cannot shake the feeling that it was not an accident that I found you.

I open my book, the one I carefully chose to help me appear aloof and intelligent; so confident was I that you would spy me in the window. My eyes scan the page but are quickly pulled back to the street. You may pass at any moment and I must catch your eye, throw you a smile that will stop you in your tracks; a smile that will make you change your mind. I practise the curve of my lips on an old man who has stopped on the other side of the glass. He smiles back and tips his head graciously. If only it could be this easy every time.

The waitress stops at my table and asks if I would like more tea. No thanks, I reply, hoping I don’t sound rude. She has stolen the attention that should be on the street. What if you chose this exact second to walk by? What if you passed the window when my eyes were on the book?  What if you’re already walking down someone else’s street? 

Fate is rarely kind, far from the romantic notion that some external force is controlling our destiny; that love and good fortune are written in the stars. Sometimes fate has a cruel sense of humour, offering us the perfect person with an impossible situation (or a perfect situation with an impossible person) and all too often fate can be a lonely café where the waitress appears at the wrong time to offer us something unwanted.  

In the end we all watch and wait, hoping for guidance or a sign that will determine whether we continue or give up. Karma, Divine Providence, Kismet, Chance, Destiny, Serendipity – regardless of our beliefs, we all cling to something, choosing to accept that the merest coincidence is something more profound, finding significance in a moment that might otherwise slip our notice.

I didn’t see you today but that doesn’t mean I have given up hope that one day you will change your mind. Some things, no matter how unlikely, are just supposed to happen. I prefer to think of life like writing a novel. Every day we are faced with a blank sheet of paper and it is up to us what we write on it. Perhaps it was my fate that led me to you but it could just as easily have been my fat. What I do know is when we find something this important, someone we know we were designed to be with, they’re worth waiting for. 

Even if that means forever.

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