Photo by Christin Hume

I fell in love with the word serendipity the moment I learned its definition. It felt like an explanation for all the secret moments I treasured so dearly in my heart. As I’ve gotten older, I try to balance my cynicism with my whimsy and play back and forth with whether it’s irony or copacetic arrangement of the stars that brings unexpected situations into my life. Connecting a single day’s dots can throw me into a debate between the two. Is it sheer coincidence? Or did the universe play a small prank to make me feel connected?

I had no way of predicting the day my ex-boyfriend would enter my life again. Well, I guess if I’d paid attention to the signs, I might have guessed that we were both on each other’s mind. At least that’s what they say when you manifest things into reality. I’ll leave that one up to the critics to decide. While I have no other explanation, I’ll take the law-of-attraction at face value.

It started that morning; a conversation with a friend overseas pivoted surprisingly to a chat about our exes. What would it be like to see some of them again? My friend took the approach of imaginary conversations. Ones where she could talk to them and tell them how much better she is now that she isn’t with them, but where she would never want to see them face-to-face again. I caught myself thinking, what would it be like to have a moment with him? What could we say to make up for all of that time? I’d lost a best friend when we broke up — a friendship so soulful that it took me years to truly get over the loss.

I took a double look at the ‘From’ field in my email inbox before I let my eyes scan the rest of his email. He’d sent it to an email account created a decade ago, one that I’d luckily had forwarded before I stopped paying any attention to it. The message was simple and to the point, direct and without a hidden agenda. He was coming to town, and wouldn’t it be nice to have a cup of coffee to catch up? Surprised? More like shocked! Intrigued? Even more so. To meet?

Carrying my laptop to the kitchen table, I took pause. As much as I wanted to hit reply and the word YES, I also owed it myself to think about it. The last time I’d reached out, there was no happy reunion. Instead, I let the email sit open on my desktop. Distraction, just for a minute, that’s what I needed. I’d initially opened my computer to do the days writing prompt, but the moment I opened the document with the prompts listed, I burst out laughing.

Prompt: Coffee Time

It’s been at least 7 years since we’ve last seen each other. The last time it was I who had reached out. My friend had just passed away, and I lamented about another friendship that I’d lost. The grief combining itself into longing for having him in my life again. He was kind, but there was no reciprocation.

Now our lives have thinned away from one another, with no overlap. I’m sure we are both different people, but I wonder if we can still make each other laugh the way we used to. Guess there is only one way to find out. I wonder if he remembers that I don’t drink coffee.

I guess at some point years after our last meeting, he thought to himself, now would be an excellent time to reconnect, now that he has proposed to his girlfriend of 4 years, and knows that I am back in San Francisco. How does he know? I guess it doesn’t matter. No matter what you always keep tabs on the ex that broke your heart. Whether its social media or a mutual friend, you are bound to hear about their big moments. The engagements, the weddings, and the babies. What unfortunately gets missed between all these updates are the more essential pieces that make up someone’s life, not the milestones that everyone else considers important.

Somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles, he must have asked himself, am I making a huge mistake? Because I asked myself the same thing at 10:37 this morning, just as a meeting was reaching the pinnacle of boredom. He was due an hour later, and all I could think about was the deafening silence that could potentially meet me for lunch.

He arrived promptly, and I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much he hadn’t changed. I hoped that by some miracle I too haven’t aged since we last saw one another. Perhaps a little plumper than our younger age, we embraced as if it had only been a few short months since we’d last sat down for a meal together. Not the fact that when we last saw each other, we couldn’t stomach actually eating food together, and instead sipped our respective drinks and avoided eye contact.

We spent 3 hours playing catchup if you could call it that. We jumped from the memories we shared to the gaps that we’d missed. There was an ease with which we talked, and yet, we both exercised a bit caution while testing the boundaries. I’m glad I’d said yes and taken a chance on being uncomfortable. By the end, I sat there wondering how do I keep you in my life as a friend?