One beautiful but chilly July morning, on her way back home, she walked past the 100% perfect man. In her hand, a bag of oranges to make juice. Tell you the truth, he is not that good looking. He does not stand out in any way. His clothes are not special. The back of his hair is still messed up from sleep. She guessed it was a long night. But still, she knew from far away: He is the perfect man for her. The moment she saw him, there was a rumbling in her chest and her mouth was as dry as a desert. Not dessert. She wished she could talk to him. Half an hour would have been plenty: just ask him about himself, tell him about herself, and what she would really like to do, explain to him the complexities of fate that had led to their passing each other on a side street this morning. After talking, they would have had brunch somewhere, maybe seen a Woody Allen movie, stopped by a hotel bar for brunch. Potentiality knocked on the door of her heart. Now the distance between them had narrowed to ten meters.
How can she approach him? What would she say? Good morning. Do you think you could spare half an hour for a little conversation? No, ridiculous. This sounds like an insurance salesman or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Maybe just the simple truth would do: Good morning. You are the perfect man for me.
They passed in front of a flower shop. A wisp of air touched her skin. The asphalt was damp, and she caught the scent of lavender. She could not bring herself to speak to him. He wore a black sweater, and in his right hand, he held a white envelope lacking only a stamp. So: He has written somebody a letter, maybe spent the whole night writing, to judge from the sleepy look in his eyes. The envelope could possibly contain every secret he has ever had. He took a few more looks at his watch and turned: He was lost in the crowd. He is gone. Her bag of oranges ripped at the bottom. She rolled her eyes. Now, of course, she knew exactly what she should have said to him. It would have been a long speech, though, far too long for her to have delivered it properly. Usually, the ideas she comes up with are never very practical. Oh well. It would have started like “Once upon a time” and ended “A sad story, don’t you think? Remember when the bag with the oranges ripped?” “But, he smiled at me,” she whispered.
Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl seventeen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary boy and an ordinary girl. But they believed in miracles. One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street. There was a lamp post. They walked a bit and then sat on a bench in the park and talked, however, a tiny sliver of doubt root in their hearts: This was perfect. Was it really all right for one’s dream to come true so easily? Could this be it? And so, when their conversation stopped for a bit, the boy said to the girl, “Let’s test ourselves. If we really are each meant to be together, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again. And when that happens, and we know that we are the perfect ones, we will marry then and there. What do you think?” She said, “Sure, let’s do this. We are still so young. There is still so much out there to explore.”
And so they parted. The test they had agreed upon was totally unnecessary of course. They should have never agreed to something dumb like this because they knew and felt that they are meant for each other. It was a miracle that they have even met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. Then life happened. They didn’t see each other for years. They were two bright, determined young people, studied, wrote dissertations, made good money, got married, got divorced, had children and lived in the same city all those years. They became members of society and started families. Maybe they actually become citizens who know how to figure out the subway lines in a heartbeat and can send special-delivery letters at the post office. The ones when a signature and another document needs to be filled out and is required.
Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was forty-two and the girl was thirty-eight. One beautiful July morning, in search of a cup of coffee and the post office, the boy walked from west to east, while the girl walked from east to west, both along the same narrow road. They passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each of them felt a rumbling in their hearts and they knew. He/she is the one.
But the glow of their memories was too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of all those years ago. Without a word but with a smile they passed each other and disappeared into the crowd. Maybe this time forever. But nobody really knows.
She then picked up the oranges and walked home.