The Days Before Tomorrow. 30 Years Later and a Call to Action

It’s now 11 years and a week or so since she passed, and now 30 years since that fateful summer when we first met. That special relationship put myself and her children on a path that I never could have foreseen.

Though lovers be lost

Though lovers be lost. I never forgot this poem as it always reminded me of her.

I haven’t written much about the kids this year, especially as I’ve only seen them twice. As I’ve explained, they’re not mine through blood or law, but they are of my heart nevertheless. In every way that truly matters to me and to them, we are family, and they’ve taught me so much about how it is to be a proud father.

Terry completed his stage in Las Vegas, and then extended it, and then extended it once again. He’s on leave of absence from culinary school now, simply because he was encouraged to travel and learn under some of the best in the culinary world. He’s in England, doing a stage on a culinary level that simply stuns me. There are no words I can express to describe the heights he will achieve.

Georgia is in year 2 studying law, the very degree her own mother couldn’t complete due to the events long ago. In a moment of face palm humor and frustration, she continues to show the stubbornness, passion and brilliance that her mom possessed. You see, she introduced to me her new boyfriend, another Chinese kid who I swear resembles me a little. But this time, he seems to genuinely love her, and they met through the same law program. Of course, I warned him as a father to take good care of her or else, but he already knew better than to upset her. She’s going to be brilliant, but I admittedly look forward to see her walk the aisle in a white dress.

Every Dad's Dream

Every Dad’s Dream

But that’s not the purpose of this blog, and why I returned to the Days. The real story is why that chance meeting 30 years ago continues to guide my life even now.

As you’ve probably read, I’m running for office now. I wasn’t planning to, but I discovered that I had to. There’s the classic saying, “All it takes for Evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” But while I subscribe to such dramatic thoughts, I believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it far better:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I’ve always tried to be a defender for others. I see that the highest aspiration of a person is to serve his or her fellow citizen and found that the problems we see in life is very often rooted in silence. I simply want to serve my city, my home and make it just a little better each day, and to speak out to hopefully inspire others to act and do the same.

Now, I have a chance to serve and make a real difference on a great scale. There are so many causes that matter to me. Education. Equality rights. The future of Calgary. Small business. My friends and family. So many and more… and to make a difference, I choose to stop being someone who spoke from the audience into someone who wants to speak truth to power. This truly unique opportunity has come up, an invitation to run for office and have a voice where it matters.

Why am I standing up for what I believe in, when others could have been content from the sidelines? It was Terry who inspired me. He took the chance and had the bravery to come out to me, telling me a truth where so many other children found themselves ostracized, beaten, abused or even banished as my friend, photographer Kelly Hofer. With this decision, he showed me what true bravery was, and why I fight now.

One summer long ago, my first love and I kissed. It was a cheeky french kiss at a time where I was helpless while pretending to demonstrate mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing. It was a kiss full of mischief, joy and bold acts of young love and sweet moments. It put me on a path, through her legacy, that guided me to this moment of perfect clarity and the bravery to act.

The First Kiss

The First Kiss

To my wife, my friends, my city, the people of Calgary-Glenmore, and the bravery of a young man who I love as my own son, I dedicate myself to serve, to inspire others, and most importantly, I choose to lead. I am Terry Lo, a dreamer fighting to make a great Calgary into reality, and I want to be your MLA.  And this is a call to action to all, and I beg of you to stop being neutral or silent. Help me, be brave and stand up and act.

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The Story of the Days Before Tomorrow and the Children

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

The Days Before Tomorrow, The 10th Anniversary of Her Passing

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The Days Before Tomorrow: The 10th Anniversary of Her Passing

“Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.” – Mitch Albom

“Though lovers be lost love shall not.” – Dylan Thomas

Image

Almost 30 years ago I met her. A bit over 20 years ago I broke both our hearts. 10 years and a few days, she broke mine, and those of “our” children one more time forever, when she was killed by a drunk driver.

The daughter of my heart, if not by genetics and marriage, my dear sweet Georgia will be coming to Calgary in a few days for a friend’s bachelorette party. I’ll see her for an evening, and then she’s back to Vancouver, all 3-4 months pregnant as well. But I know that while our reunion is in her mind, today of all days 10 years past is there as well, as in my son Terry’s too, as it was her death that profoundly changed things in all of our lives those days long ago.

As I think upon her, and of the path not taken, I still wonder what it would have been like to have had her in my life and to have raised the kids as my own. Would we have finally fit in the cosmic scheme of things? Would all doubts I had towards reconciliation broke us apart again? I really just don’t know.

But I do know this, and it’s something I’m simply so amazed by my wife, WK, is so understanding about. There will always be a part of me that was with her, despite the madness, the insanity of the situation and secret unspoken longings that we both shared yet never uttered to one another.

She was my muse of beauty and light, a mystery within, an enigma wrapped in a smile that could dazzle and warm the coldest of hearts. She was a lover of fine music and arts, curious of the glorious stars and galaxies above and a shield maiden to those who threatened her family. She hated high heels and the illusion of fashion, yet stood for all that was right in the world without, even if not satisfied personally within. She was that rare spirit that yearned to be free, yet was determined to be tied to the chains of love and memory. She was a warrior against fate, and saw that fate was in large part what we made of it, and fought for the chance for the both of us to reunite.

In the end…. she was as rare as lightning in a bottle and just as electric to the touch. The memory of her kiss, her skin, the deepness in her eyes, and the simple way … the way she embraced joy in the dance of thunder above still aches in me deep inside. She was my 1st love, and no matter how strange things came to be, I am thankful that she was a part of my life.

Good night my sweet these 10 years now past. While I may not believe in a heaven, if there is one, I hope you have found it and that you have found peace now and forever now that your… no… OUR children and I have been reunited after all this time.

Good night. I miss you. Terry, Georgia and I. We miss you.

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The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

The New Frontiers: Repeats, Reunions and Restorations…

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

I’ve got news for Mr. Santayana: we’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That’s what it is to be alive. It’s pretty dense kids who haven’t figured that out by the time they’re ten…. Most kids can’t afford to go to Harvard and be misinformed.”  ― Kurt Vonnegut

Before I go on, I’m still not going to post any pics for the foreseeable future.  Outside of their first names, I want the kids to still have a measure of privacy.  I am writing this with their full knowledge and permission, but I am now trying to be a little more restrained due to circumstances.

Well, it’s happened.  I’ve met my “kids”, and in all honesty, I still don’t know what to think.  The first meeting I had in mind kinda went awry, as WestJet inexplicably flew well over 90+ minutes late.  Add processing and the rest, and my late but still ok 9-something pm landing suddenly became one that happened a little before midnight.  Needless to say, by the time I I got out of the gates, the kids were absolutely exhausted.  Given that Terry had to get back for lunch and dinner service in Whistler the next day, the meeting I wanted to have with them both together pretty much was blown out of the water.  Georgia just went home, and we would find a time to later meet.

Terry

Terry stayed over in Vancouver that night, and met me for a pretty early 6:30am breakfast in a Chinese café-bakery.  (By the way, highly recommend New Town Bakery on E Hastings, it was simple, inexpensive, hot and simply rocked.)  In the brief hour or so that we talked, he was simply a joy.  Obviously a child of the 00’s, his Star Wars was Anakin Skywalker and the Clone Wars.  Linkin Park was his Sting and the Police and he never even heard of The Doctors 1 thru 8.  He’s bright, analytical and determined to be a chef no matter what.  He’ll make it, I have no doubt.  But he’s also a little awkward socially.  His focus on his craft has made him appear to be a little cold, even aloof to an extent.  Still, once you do get to know him, you can’t help but respect him.

Georgia

On Saturday, I had went out to meet an old friend I had never met face to face in 15 years.  It was fun, exciting and a grand old trot down memory lane.  But as all good things, it had to end a little early as I had promised a friend to pick up some Dragon’s Beard Candy from the Richmond Night Market.  On my way there, I noticed a text from Georgia, who was already there and we agreed to meet.

Remember, until this weekend, all of my communications with the kids have been entirely on the phone or via the net.  Everyone has a persona they assume online, whether it be one that’s daring, brave, meek or silent.  But in person… ah, there’s the rub.  The cute little 8 yr old girl I remember is a very different 18 year old girl, and one that I bet her mom would have tore her hair out over.

It’s not that Georgia is a bad girl, or some wild child who drives parents to drink.  It’s that she’s so very much her mother’s daughter.  I see so much of my old love in her, and so many of the special qualities that made me so charmed and enamoured even now over 3 decades.

Georgia is smart and clever, quick witted and open.  She is a caring, loving blossoming woman who you can’t help but fall in love with from the start.  She keeps the same insane schedule that her mom did at this age, with most of her days already prescheduled weeks to months in advance.  It’s that drive that made her mom such a star to UBC, and when properly focused, will make Georgia a contender in the days to come.  The problem is that just like her mom, she wears her heart on her sleeve, and is incredibly pig headed.  Terry told me that once she’s made a decision, it takes a small miracle to make her reconsider.  Like me, she has a flair for the dramatic, and makes life changing decisions at a whim as she will follow her heart.  And more importantly, she has a sense of justice based on her own beliefs and is quite willing to defends those decisions to the death.

Unfortunately, this has led her to three decisions that I wonder how much came from me (somehow) and how much came from my old love.

– After reading “The Days” and finding out so many things about her bio dad, and my deep unusual relationship with her mom, she’s stopped talking to him now altogether.  She assures me that she came to this decision herself, but I can’t help but feel that I’ve traumatized her with the truth.  Problem is that, what choice did I really have as well?  I wasn’t about to lie to protect the false reasons why I was abandoned the kids after the death of their mom, or my complicated feelings for her even after all of these years.  Nevertheless, it’s been months since she has had more than a 3 word conversation with her dad, and I feel so horribly personally responsible for this.

– She’s about to get married in a few months, about the same age when my old love and I had once considered the future together.  Worse, it looks like her taste in men is about the same.  Her fiance was working at the Richmond Night Market (hense the timing), and he’s CHINESE.

– She’s asked ME to be the one to give her away.  She sees it as things going full circle, and that I was supposed to be her dad.  I am honored that she asked me, but it feels quite honestly wrong in a lot of ways.  I don’t deserve this pedestal.  I was with her mom in a quasi lost love relationship for over 7 years. Her real dad raised her for most of her 18 years.  He has cared for her, loved her, and sacrificed so much for her that I can never ever repay.  This is his spot, and his honour not mine.

Now let’s get back to where this mess is about to lead.  I’m not going to comment much on her fiance for now, since I really don’t know the guy at all.  All I know is that he’s from Shanghai, studied in western schools and is 24 years old. I have no idea if he’s getting his citizenship, or if he’s even a landed immigrant.  He speaks english with a bit of an british / chinese accent, and apparently works at that market on the weekends.  He seems to genuinely care for Georgia, but I can’t get over the fact that they started seeing one another only months ago…. and now marriage???

I haven’t had time to really think this all through, but this feels so wrong.  I’m trying to respect her decision, but now I think I have to be her father to try to talk sense as she’s presently lacking one right now.  She won’t talk to me at all abotu how her dad is, and what are his thoughts.  I’m actually a bit surprised that he even let Georgia move out at this age for that matter, assuming he even had a choice.

I’ve gotten advice from a few friends here and there, but I still have to think for now. I can tell already that my wife is going to have some problems with Georgia, which is another consideration I’m will have to factor in. So many lives, so intertwined in the decisions I soon will have to make, and all from a single desperate moment based on an ill-conceived haphazard plan. Wow. If there is some sort of afterlife, I can just imagine my old love just looking on in total puzzlement and disappointment.

But there is one thing for certain… I promised someone special and dear to me that I would always be there to strive to be their father, mentor and friend.  I promised her that I would always be there to try to guide them on a path that would find them their own happiness, and to avoid the mistakes that my old love and I made that will always haunt me.

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” – Margo Channing, All About Eve

Interlude: Topless Revelations and the Evening in Jail

in·ter·lude   /ˈɪntərˌlud/

noun – a short dramatic piece, especially of a light or farcical character, formerly introduced between the parts or acts of miracle and morality plays or given as part of other entertainments.

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” – The Captain, Cool Hand Luke

“If God wanted us to be naked, why did He invent sexy lingerie?” – Shannen Doherty

“Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.” – Jane Austen

Friends who know me, also know that I’m usually not exactly at my most logical anywhere near the lingerie section of … well… pretty much any store.  Just being next to the bra department in the Bay, or some place similar, is enough to make me a little jumpy with the instinctual need to run like hell.

But, this isn’t because of a matter of prudishness, or religion or just being a guy.  It was because of that day I spent Xmas shopping with my first love, the one I’m currently writing our story about.  You see, the mathematical equation of:

(the bra section of Eaton’s + Her)/(special event) x (Terry assumed to be a pervert) = Terry in Jail

It was near Xmas time and the town was bustling with the usual hosannas to fat men in red suits and the spectacle of 30-50% OFF signs everywhere.  My parents were in Hong Kong as they often were for my dad’s immigration business.  My sister was away with her friends for a sleepover, and I was more or less home alone for the weekend.

I didn’t really mind being alone at the time, as I knew everyone would be back soon enough in time for Xmas, and I had my exams to study for.  And so there I was, a little bored with reading and re-reading my notes from the past semester, concentrating on the works of Ayn Rand and Charles Darwin.  It was around noon, and I was already 4 hours in when I was starting to sneak the adventures of Iron Man as well out of boredom when she called.  She suggested going Xmas shopping, and as I was already a bit stir crazy, gladly accepted the invite and the lovely gracious company.

We had already been dating on and off for years by then, but this admittedly was new.  We had never done Xmas shopping together and I soon realized that I made the wrong choice.  When she meant that she wanted the company and to see me, it was girl-speak for needing a pack mule and a yes man.  Shop after shop, mirror after mirror it went on, as she would try out one thing or another, or ask my opinion if that scarf would be nice, or that top, or those stockings and so on.  And with each place, Terry the kinda boyfriend was slowly being transformed into Terry the carrier of bags and opinion board to bounce ideas off only.  It was NOT a great day for menfolk everywhere.

This was at a time when Quebec stores still shut their doors at 5pm on weekends and the Internet was just a glint in Al Gore’s eye, and I was looking at that magic number to come around to free me from my bondage.  And it was with that deadline approaching, she decided to save the best for last.  We went into the dark zone, the place that will ever be known as Hell on Earth to me in my mind’s eye, the bra department of Eaton.

Ok, I admit being a little uncomfortable around there.  Well, actually a LOT uncomfortable there, as I sat there, many bags and parcels in hand, and bemused women around with smirks at the sight.  The seconds felt like hours, and being left to my thoughts and devices was starting to drive me mad.  And then it happened….

From the dressing room, a girl screamed loudly.  It was one of panic and fear and it echoed through the whole of Eaton and to the city outside.  But more importantly, it was a voice I recognized, hers.  Ever the knight in training, I dropped everything like a shot and ran straight into the change room to find my girl and leap to the rescue.

Did you know the Eaton bra changing room had over 30 booths?  I sure as heck didn’t until then.  And panicked and worried as I was, I didn’t really care.  I was screaming out her name, and went quickly from booth to booth, opening curtain after curtain trying to find her.  Needless to say, there were quite a few MORE screams coming from that room.

For the alpha males who may read this, no, I did not see a lot of breasts and naked women.  I was so focused in my quest for her, I honestly didn’t even notice the fact that most of these women were topless or partially nude.  I was looking for HER, and that’s all that mattered.  And I think it was around booth number 183 or so (it felt like it), that I DID find her.

I burst in screaming her name, asking what was wrong.  There she was, standing on the little seat of the change booth, and very much topless, when she saw me burst in.  And in a split second, fear became anger, pure female fury directed at ME.  I didn’t even see her fist approach my face.

Well, there I was, now shocked back into reality, when I realized what I had just done.  I look back and forth down the aisle, hearing the screams of other women now as well, and the eyes of at least a dozen really pissed women trying to cover themselves with the booth curtains.  So with that in mind, I did what any self respecting knight of olde who believed in chivalry with all his being, I booked it for the exit at full speed.

Did you know the security office of Eaton Montreal was just right next to the bra department?  I found out pretty quickly, as the minute I stepped out of the room, 2 guards tackled me and took me down.  I have to admit, they were pretty well trained, as they soon had me up on my feet, restrained, and dragged into their security office.  They even had their own little jail of sorts there.

Not long later, the boys in blue arrived, and took me away to the precinct.  While leaving the precinct, I noticed that my gal’s boxes and bags were all gone, hopefully taken by her though that probably wasn’t my concern.  It was more, where the hell was her, and figured that she was so angry that she left without me.

Well, there I was, explaining my story again and again, but not to any willing open ears.  Since I had acted so rashly and quickly, no one had any reference to the timing and assumed that all of the screaming was because of my rummaging through the change room, as opposed to me reacting to a scream and THEN rummaging through the room (not that it made much difference in the dozen or so womens’ minds).

So there I was, innocent looking little me, being seen as some naughty daring pervert in the precinct office.  Thankfully, everyone was pretty busy with the holiday rush of real criminals and what not, so they let me make a few calls as opposed to just one since my folks were away at the time.  And hoo boy, it definitely took quite a few calls.  It wasn’t a particularly pleasant stay though, as after the calls, they tossed me into the drunk tank with a few others, mostly pickpockets and purse snatchers.  That stay… well… was mostly me staying in a corner, hoping to keep my rear virginity intact as I had seen way too many prison movies.

A year before my incarceration. Don't I look all honest and innocent?

A year before my incarceration. Don’t I look all honest and innocent?

Luckily I was still under 18, so the officers weren’t as pissed at me as they would be, more like bemused if anything.  More importantly, I have a fairly honest face, so people tend to take me more at face value and I couldn’t have come up with a story like this in a 1000 years.  Even more fortunate for me, none of the women had made a statement, which I assume was probably because of the need to go home with their shopping and get ready for the Xmas holidays.  Still, it took awhile to find someone to pick me up from the station, with the promise that I would appear for court the following Monday.

As soon as I was out, I tried to see her, over and over, but she refused my calls, my knocking at the door and so on.  Her mom and dad were a bit puzzled as she wouldn’t reveal what happened, and they took it as some sort of lovers’ spat I suppose.  I couldn’t really be too upset on why she wouldn’t see me, but I needed her help to stay out of 20 years of hard jail with murderers and rapists (I had a pretty vivid imagination then).  In the end, it took a mutual friend and flowers to convince her to tell me the story on what happened, and with that, her own apology for thinking me to be some evil perv who tried to sneak a peak at her breasts (yes, hard to believe, but I hadn’t seen her nude ever back then).

The session later in court was probably one of the best that judge ever had.  While Eaton had placed charges on me, she had approached the security manager and the clerk and explained everything that had happened just prior to seeing the judge.  Eaton still had to press charges, after all, running into a change room and bursting into the change room of a dozen or so women was still… well… stupid beyond belief.  But, now knowing the sequence of events, the security manager had asked for leniency from the public prosecutor and as I had a record as being a goody two shoes in general in the community, the judge (who was struggling not to laugh) was pretty lenient as well and sentenced me to a misdemeanor with community service.

Around those years, my friends might remember all those hours I was spending at NDG’s Head and Hands as a tutor and a volunteer?  Well, that was the court mandated community service I had to do to atone for my act of stupidity.  She forgave me for the whole transgression and we returned to our dance of are we/aren’t we a couple, and life proceeded as could be.  Well, as best as it could, with her constantly holding this over my head every time I screwed up that is.

Oh, and you’re probably wondering why she screamed in the first place? She told me the following day, after I spent the time in prison. She saw a mouse.

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The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 1

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 2

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 3

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 4

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

Serendipity and Valentine’s Day

Serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.”

“Jonathan Trager, prominent television producer for ESPN, died last night from complications of losing his soul mate and his fiancee. He was 35 years old. Soft-spoken and obsessive, Trager never looked the part of a hopeless romantic. But, in the final days of his life, he revealed an unknown side of his psyche. This hidden quasi-Jungian persona surfaced during the Agatha Christie-like pursuit of his long reputed soul mate, a woman whom he only spent a few precious hours with. Sadly, the protracted search ended late Saturday night in complete and utter failure. Yet even in certain defeat, the courageous Trager secretly clung to the belief that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, its a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan. Asked about the loss of his dear friend, Dean Kansky, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and executive editor of the New York Times, described Jonathan as a changed man in the last days of his life. “Things were clearer for him,” Kansky noted. Ultimately Jonathan concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call “fatum”, what we currently refer to as destiny.” – Dean in Serendipity

“You don’t just have the most incredible night of your life with a perfect stranger and leave it up to chance, do you??” – Jonathan in Serendipity.

It’s 12:25 friday, the night after Valentine’s.  One of my favorite movies, Serendipity, is on.  And with that, thoughts bring me back to Karen.

I’ve met a number of women over the years, each one having a certain je ne sais quoi that brought me to their door.  But of all of them, only one of them ever made me believe in fate.  Dear sweet giggling Karen, the nurse from Cleveland, who with her vivacious friend Kerry, combined with our sense of humour and a fair amount of alcoholic Hurricanes, made our poor haunted tour guide’s evening a misery, as we wandered through the streets of N’awlines’ French Quarter.

The chemistry then was just instant, and magical, and the alcohol had made me drop pretty much instantly all inhbitions. What could I say, I was naturally attracted to her from the start.    Kerry picked up on that right away, and I think Karen had felt a bit of the same, as we went to Pat ‘O Brian’s to enjoy the duelling pianos.  Kerry whispered to me, “go dance with her.”  I was a little shocked… but feeling so much like the shy schoolboy in front of a girl, I let the liquid courage flow and push me to take Karen’s hand and slow dance with her to the music of the duelling pianos.  It was … nice, but all too short.  As the tune played, all seemed right for those brief moments, and I wondered if I had met someone special.  And with the last dying note, the dance was over, and the schoolboy returned.

Later that night, I was escorting the girls to their hotel.  They were going to leave the following day on a cruise ship, and I asked for Karen’s email.  She gave it, and I gave mine, but tipsy as I was, I soon forgot it and awoke the next day kicking myself for my stupidity.  I thought that was the end of it…

The following year, just before Valentine’s or so, I caught the movie Serendipity.  It was an interesting film, where a series of fateful events brought a couple together, then apart, then together again years later.  And as I watched, I suddenly saw myself where John Cusack was.  It was absolutely mesmerizing, and I found myself wondering if Karen and I were the same.  Valentine’s was approaching, and what better time than then to take a total stab in the dark.  I called a few newspapers in Cleveland, the only thing I really remembered about Karen, and put an ad in EVERY ONE (all 4 or 5 at the time)  of them asking, “Nurse K, we met at the Fatted Calf, email me at…”  Some of the editors thought it was utterly romantic that I would go to these lengths.  I thought.. this would be my one shot, come what may.  At least I could say I tried…. and failed.  No responce.  Zip.  Zero.  But it was a wild shot in the dark, and I knew the odds were beyond outstanding.  I accepted it, and went back to life wondering from time to time of what could have been.

That should have been the end of it.  The years went by, and thoughts of Karen faded with each passing day.  New friends, new cities and adventures, and new loves soon took over my thoughts.  And then came Serendipity again…

It was 2004, 5 years after that magical night in New Orleans, and I was watching a repeat of Serendipity on the tube.  Over the years, it had become one of my favorite movies as the themes of love, destiny and fate all played itself before my eyes and strangely appealed to the chivalrous knight in me.  I was running it in the background when I had gotten that fateful email.  It was from a Karen… and I was wondering who could this be…

It was not just this Karen.. it was from THE Karen.  By a miracle of fate, a friend of hers was cleaning out her closet, and came across the newspaper with the ad.   I’m not quite sure what called her to notice a small classified ad from 5 years back, and what made her put 2 and 2 together and realize that it was meant for Karen, but it did… and it led to Karen and I calling one another 5 years later.

I won’t go any further of the events that followed.  The date in Florida together.  The calls and the emails.  The regular shipments of Bernard Callebaut chocolate to Cleveland.  All that and more, but in the end, it was a valiant effort and a meeting of the minds when time and space seemed to coincide between 2 people.  But needless to say for those of you who know me, you know I’m not with her.

But this was a time I took that leap of faith, and with that, found a lifelong friend who has found happiness with her husband and child.  Karen and I are friends now, and good ones I like to believe.

There’s been other events that were fate like, but everything that took place with Karen was the one time where the universe seemed to genuinely take a hand in my life and hers.  It was magic, and this week of all weeks, I look upon it fondly and with wonder and quiet contentment.