Uncategorized

Where Did I Miss You?

Since I seem to be focusing on the subject of love during February, I can’t help but give some time to one unique aspect of how it comes – or fails to come – into our lives. No focus on the subject of love, in all it’s categories, could ever be quite complete if it did not include the concept of what love might have awaited us in different venues of life if we had made different choices along our way.

COBBLESTONE STREET - PARIS - cropped, credits
There is a theory espoused by some that there is actually an alternate experience of life that is running concurrently with the one we are aware of, and that if we could become aware of it as well, it would give us the experiences to which our alternate choices had ope
ned the door. Of course, I realize that, according to the Word of God, that concept is not a reality, but I am still aware that had I made just one or two choices differently – even the choice of what street to walk down, or what restaurant to visit, or what time of day I went to the library – a hundred things in my life might be completely different. 

The reality of this truth came home to me quite unexpectedly, and quite dramatically, one day a couple of years ago, while standing in a fast food restaurant. I’ve been fleetingly aware of other such experiences during my life, but this time, I was so touched by it, and my life so affected by it, that I immediately wrote it down and saved it, so that it would remain a part of who I am from that moment on. I share that experience with you now, and I hope you find it to be as much of a blessing as I do.

WHERE DID I MISS YOU?

I didn’t notice him as I entered the fast-food restaurant. His table was to my right as I entered the door. And he wasn’t in my line of vision as I stood in line at the counter, so I don’t know if he had noticed me as I came in or not. But as I carried my sack over to the end of the shelf where the napkins were located, I glanced up and met his eyes. It was for only the briefest second, because it was one of those situations where you know you’ve made contact, but you don’t know why and aren’t sure how to react. So you swiftly shift your eyes to the side, pretending to look at other things — as if you had just been letting your eyes sweep the area in general.

Why we do that, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a reaction only in those of us who have a measurable lack of self-confidence. Whatever the reason, though, I knew I had reacted that way when I really hadn’t wanted to do so.

But I felt the pull of his personality so strongly that I almost felt as if I’d insulted him by not smiling at him when our eyes had touched so fleetingly. Thinking it may have been just my imagination, I glanced his way again and found him looking at me again as well. But, again, I broke contact within mere seconds. And, once again, I was sorry. I now felt the pull of him so strongly that I knew I had to do something to connect with him, if only for one smile.

It was easier than I had expected, because at the table closest to his sat an old friend of mine. I usually tried to speak briefly to her whenever I saw her anywhere, so I decided I’d walk over to her table now, necessarily passing by his.

As I stepped past his table, my eyes still wouldn’t connect with his. So I just looked right at my friend and spoke. “How are you doing, Betty?”

“I’m doing fine. How are you?”

“I’m fine too. I’ll be even better after I eat this,” I added whimsically, holding up my sack. I glanced his way, and he was looking at me. He smiled. I smiled. He could hear every word I said clearly. I looked back to Betty, still holding my sack out in front of me. Then facing Betty, but letting my eyes drift in his direction, I focused on his left hand. He did have on a gold ring, but whether it was actually a wedding band or not I couldn’t tell. It was best if I didn’t know for sure anyway, but … disappointment pierced through me. It was a brief, stabbing feeling, and then sort of a dull resignation took its place.

But somehow, I just couldn’t quite let go of him yet. I held up my sack again – in Betty’s direction: “I don’t really need this … but … then again, I guess I do need it” was my next inane addition to the conversation. I glanced at him again, as if to include him in this “high-level” discussion. He understood. So I took advantage of that moment to look at him more closely.

There was nothing extraordinarily attractive about him. I mean he wasn’t the kind of man you’d naturally notice because he was gorgeous or was dressed in the height of fashion. His African-American complexion wasn’t ebony, but it was darker than brown. He had on a kind of knit cap that covered most of his short-cropped hair. His beard was mostly gray and extremely neat, but even though the beard was gray, the face was young. He was obviously overweight. Not fat, but certainly not sporting the kind of physique that normally caught a woman’s attention.

But it was his eyes and his smile. Or maybe it was his smile and his eyes. It doesn’t matter which, because his smile was so warm and genuine that it filled his eyes as well as his mouth. And it was that smile that made him really attractive — not the physical smile — the part of it that came from his soul. It was his soul that was in his eyes, and there was an invitation there: “I could sit and talk to you and understand you,” it said. “And you would understand me. We’d be friends.”

By that time (barely seconds) Betty was responding to my convoluted statement about the need for food, and she answered, “Yeah … you have to eat to live.” Brilliant answer!

“Right,” I said, looking back at my new friend. His smile was even sweeter — and even more inviting. He knew I wouldn’t — and couldn’t — sit down and talk to him. Why not? Because we had no connector. We had no tiny moment from our past that could have provided even the thinnest thread of oneness. We had just this one minuscule moment — taken out of time — to recognize, to dream, to wish. But he let me know that he had enjoyed talking to me vicariously and hoped that I had felt the same.

I smiled at him as generously as I knew how, hoping my message was in my own eyes: “I wish things were different. I wish I could sit down at your table and get to know you. Yes, we’d be friends; I’m sure of it. … Have a good day. Have a good life. … Bye.”

I walked out the door — sadder than when I’d walked in — poorer because of knowing there was a rich friendship out there that I would never own. Where in my life did I choose a path that put me in the position of never meeting him until today? Where did I miss finding him at a time when I could have known him,  owned him as a friend, and had my life woven in with his?  I wish I knew.  No … I wish I’d known then … and I would have chosen differently.

© Sandra Conner 2009

Photo: © Brenda Calvert, 2011

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Where Did I Miss You?”

  1. Hi Sandra thank you so much for your response to my post ’Regret’.
    From your link am here and have enjoyed reading your post and enjoyed the story very much. Yes I can relate to it, may be for different reasons but the comparisons are there.
    I often look back at my life and recall the good as well as the bad. Quite naturally I think what if I turned right instead of left when looking for that certain place. Or if I had the bottle to get up on stage with that big name rock band and play a few songs with them. What might have been if the two of us from the band we had actually responded to the invite from Abbey Road studios (Beatles Studios) to do a recording test.
    I do not grieve over these incidents, or let it control my life, but I do enjoy recalling them, just like I enjoy recalling holidays with my family, and looking at photographs. But what I do get uptight with is reading that some well paid professor or psychologist, who spent many years doing tests, experiments and surveys, coming up with the view it is dangerous to mental health/ physical health, because it is negative thinking or lots of other fancy descriptions. In ten years time will they look back and think how much time and money was wasted on these projects. LoL.
    I will stop now because it sounds as though I am preaching. I cannot see into the future, I can plan for it, but cannot see it, but I can see into the past, and love doing so. Thank you so much Sandra and please continue to write. I hope I haven’t put you off.
    In reference to Writing Hell – About Gerry A – at the moment am still trying to finish story. A little blank at moment, all characters resting in the cabins. Hehe! I am trying to edit chapters so as to put them onto Writing Hell site. I do fear that it is ambling a bit and probably losing the plot and therefore the readers. Have loved this little rant and converse with you and your views etc Look forward to our next writing exercise. Love it and thank you so much.
    There is so much that could be said, save it for another time.

    1. Also, Gerry, perhaps I should tell you, so that I won’t confuse you sometime, The Hangin’ Out With God blogger and I are one and the same person. Sometimes I forget which name I’m logged in under when I make a comment, and at least now you’ll understand if I should find myself answering something from this site with the other name.

  2. When I began to read this I felt such a strong connection to what you were saying I started to tear up. When I was younger (I.e. – not married) I may have turned to that gentleman and asked “You look so familiar, do I know you from somewhere?”……but that would have broken the magic of your moment.

    1. I find that I still tear up as well every time I read it. And even though it happened a couple of years ago, I still find myself thinking, “I just wonder what would have happened if I had gone up to his table and spoken directly to him.” Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read the article.
      Blessings. Sandra

Hey, don't you dare go away without leaving me a note!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s