We were sitting on your great grandfathers patio counting how many humming birds were at the bird feeders. Your whole family was talking at once, asking me varying questions. There were the polite, mundane questions: Where are you from? Who are your parents? How long have you been together? Then one of your cousins asked what every romantic wants to know—how did we meet? You explain that you were running late for work and ran out of the house without having a cup of coffee. By your lunch break, you were exhausted and needed to fuel your addiction to the bitter drink.
“I had just sat down when the small bell above the door rang, announcing someones arrival. I looked up and saw small shoes colored a striking blue step across the barrier, one after another, making a staccato note with each dainty fall against the stone flooring. That’s when I knew that I wanted to know you.”
Your family smiled for us and you kissed the top of my head. Then you said as an after thought “If I weren’t addicted to coffee we never would have met.”
It was then that I wondered for the first time how many times we never met.
How often were we on the same subway, both sitting next to a stranger who would never be anything more than a stranger? Perhaps we passed each other on a weekly basis; just two people sharing the side walk. Do you remember when we found out that your mother and my grandfather were buried in the same cemetery, twelve bouquets of flowers apart? You visited her every Sunday before church. I visited him every Sunday after church. I wonder how many times we stood in the used bookstore on the corner of Pine, flipping through a book we knew we weren’t going to buy.
You said if it weren’t for coffee, we never would have met.
I’m not sure if I believe that though. I believe that soul mates are always crossing paths, because if two people are meant to know each other, they will find a way to meet. The period of your life that you meet them decides what they will be to you: a lover, friend or mentor. Maybe we only meet them when we are meant to. Maybe I could have been introduced to you a dozen times last Winter and we would have still parted as strangers, struggling to remember the others full name.
Perhaps we find our soul mates when we are able to fully appreciate their presence. Or maybe I’m wrong, and if it weren’t for the fact you wanted coffee we never would have met. Maybe my face would never have caught your eye. Maybe you would always been on the 7:30 bus, while I waited faithful for the 7:45. Maybe we would have never crossed paths.
I don’t believe that though.
I believe we have met over and over again, waiting for the day when we would meet and it would matter.