Magical or Divine Coincidence? Survival of the Fittest versus Faith and
Uncovering the Secrets to How I Met My Fairytale Prince
I don't have to remind you that every passing day, meeting Mr. Right or that handsome Prince becomes more and more difficult. Slowly the options seem to narrow and you're left with some serious life choices. This story is about magic and faith but the skeptic reader might call it coincidence. I'll let you decide.
The worst single's dance I ever went to was for people with graduate and doctorate degrees. Lonely, geeky people like me, who communicated with note cards or computers back before the internet and cell phones covered the planet in massive, social techno-speak. Back when folks spoke of hardware as something at the building supply store where people bought plants to talk to or lumber to build walls with. I remember most of the men at this particular dance wore short-sleeved plaid shirts under their dark suits, and some sported horn-rimmed glasses reminiscent of Henry Kissinger. Some of the men probably were secretly hiding their slide rules, and those that didn't wear a suit jacket wore a kind of beige-colored, wind resistant practical garment with zippered pockets that guaranteed they would be ready for anything, including the rare Southern California rain shower. Endearing, overthinking brainiacs who represented the paradigm shift of social life black holes.
As a recent recipient of a graduate degree, I felt honored rubbing elbows with these desolate ivy leaguers, and forlorn, lovesick bookworms who knew about science and abstract medical or quantum theories but didn't feel comfortable holding a regular conversation about the weather. Whether or not these were the evolutionary descendants of Newton, Pythagoras perhaps Tesla, Edison, Oppenheimer and Salk, didn't matter --I was thirty years old and I didn't have time to watch an experiment bloom in a Petri-dish. While they certainly didn't look like a sexy group of men, they also didn't attempt to go near any one of the very approachable, business-like women waiting for their advances. They shied away, shuffling into dark corners where they probably contemplated various chess moves while gazing out onto the empty dance floor. It seemed as if someone had promised to let them have an extra hour playing their favorite computer game, if only they would spend a few dismal hours at that dance. Looking up at the burning cheeks, the intense shifting, restless twitching, the chukka boots tapping under grey slacks and the nervous gestures made me walk out. Sorry, gentlemen, but you really didn't want to be there anymore than I did.
Running away always seemed like the easiest solution. Zebras do it. A Darwinian response kept me running like a gazelle, farther and farther into a wild savannah called 'dating in the eighties.' Since I had spent two years buried in books, my fun-loving, partying and drinking friends were even more determined to find me a suitable mate. A few miserable blind dates later, I decided to step away from some very sweet, but well-meaning friends who I can't even locate on Face book anymore.
I even ran from my parents who whispered through my teens about what a great match I would make with their friend's son. When they finally made a lunch date for us however, it was too late. I had hastily married a friend from work. Hey, his name badge said, 'Robert the Magnificent'. How could anything go wrong? Occasionally, I got to be the assistant, wearing high heels and holding onto the linking rings, or the endless stream of silk scarves he pulled from some mysterious hole in his sleeve. When he shuffled cards he held the deck about three feet apart, and the cards magically found his other hand without falling on the ground. He pulled rabbits out of hats and made coins appear from behind your ear, until one fateful day, after two years of marriage, he finally made me disappear. Poof! Though very talented, his misplaced passion boiled into anger, frustration and domestic violence. His magnificence had turned rancid and I had to run away, back to the savannah.
Who would catch me? Where was that Prince? Not the romantic dreamy notion from the castle that rescues the Princess, but perhaps the other one. The Prince who tamed his fox and kept his rose under a cloche. A moot point, because fairytale endings required faith that the whole happily ever after thing is even remotely possible. Did I know any happy people? Were the happy marriages something people didn't talk about because it attracted too much attention? Is that what the paparazzi were trying to capture on film--happiness? During this time, I stopped worrying about the whole situation. I flew to Europe by myself and cruised the Caribbean with my mom. Diving into work, I quickly lost track of time.
Months turned into years of horrible dates, stupid agonizing one-sided relationships that kept me from appearing completely alone. I convinced everyone around me that the man I was dating for six years, (who was living with an alleged housekeeper), made me happy. Right. Six Valentine's days, I sat around with my sewing machine, my journal, a book of love poems and a yarn basket overflowing with crochet projects. His lies promised me a fantasy life hidden in the mist, somewhere in the haze of uncertainty, where his freedom and our dubious futures met. In hindsight, I suppose the whole experience kept me away from those weird dances and stupid bars, but meanwhile my foolish heart became as tangled as the knots in my yarn basket. Every weekend, I would wait for his call. Most nights I cried myself to sleep. Survival of the fittest wasn't working out very well and I had reached the edge of my savannah. I was at the aforementioned dance full of pocket protectors waiting to be discovered like the latest vaccine
Finally, one sunny December day, a girlfriend dragged me to a very unusual little church above Los Angeles in a quiet neighborhood. Sunlight bounced off the onion-domed roof. The priest came out sporting a long beard that stopped in the middle of his chest and he asked us to kiss an icon during the service.
Though I felt strange in the unfamiliar, tiny chapel, my friend Laura looked perfectly comfortable saying her prayers. Someone once told me that we should not ask for specific "gimme" type things while praying. Well, Christmas was around the corner and I thought long and hard about what I wanted Santa to bring me. I bowed my head, following Laura's lead and I will never forget what I asked for that day and how I worded my prayer.
"Dear God," I said, looking up at an image of Jesus. "Please bring me a good man who will love me forever." After we left the church, and went to lunch, Laura excitedly explained about how she had been dying to show me that special chapel. She went on and on about the lovely stained glass, the colorful tiles and the inlaid mosaic altar above the rustic floors. This church was the magical place where she wanted to have her wedding ceremony. Maybe, I thought, I was out of the loop or something, but I certainly didn't know about any serious men in my friend's life. Surprised, I asked if she had any prospects and she didn't reveal anything new by saying, "Not yet." She simply wanted to show me, her good friend, the place where someday she would tie the knot. I reflected on her statements, and the clouds above my head parted, letting in a bold and fabulous idea. Poof!
"I know someone, someone you'd really like," I stammered with enthusiasm. A picture flashed in my mind of a guy who asked me out once the previous summer. (At the time, I had a cheating boyfriend who kept seeing his ex-girlfriend, but he still wanted me to marry him in a big Chicago cathedral.) Though I had to turn Steve down at the time, he made a great impression on me as the type of man any woman would love. I knew Laura would like him. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed like the Prince from the castle. The one who actually saves the Princess! I proceeded to describe a friendly, but sad looking man I met in July. I even said I would have a Christmas party just so I could introduce them. Elated, she said she looked forward to my party. We were laughing over our dessert when she said, "I'll cheer your sad friend right up."
Two weeks later, I had the party. I invited all my friends including Laura and the soulful, sad-eyed man I met in the summer. He was such a serious man that I wasn't sure he would even come to my holiday get-together, but he did. Laura had some sort of excuse that day and didn't make it, but Steve and I hit it off very, very well. He didn't look like a chess player, but he played chess and he conversed with everyone about everything, including the weather. He had been sad the day I met him because his mother had died the exact same day! A gentle soul, did she have to die so we could find each other? So we could live--happily ever after? Poof!
There is a moral to this story. One we have heard repeatedly and sometimes we listened, and sometimes we tuned it out. Remember the one about how love will find you when you least expect it? Tears, like opalescent dew will float away and hearts do heal. Somehow, laughter replaces pain. Love is that illusive magic that binds souls together. I stepped from behind the cynical blinders into a different world where my faith slowly unzipped the fairytale ending. I stopped running. I have finally been tamed. Thank you God.
Polar opposites fill our universe and they still click over a cocktail. Throw a party, and if your best friend doesn't show up, it might be the magical window of opportunity where you might want to take a serious look around.
Steve and I have been happily married now for over nineteen years. We spend too much time together, but I'm not complaining. He likes gardening, I like cooking and we both like scrabble. We ride our bikes, go swimming, enjoy travelling and hiking. We read books, and share our family time with laughter, children and dogs. Sometimes we say a toast to Laura,--as in--thank you for missing my party. She also found someone, got married in that chapel and then moved to Europe.
Most of all, I'm thankful to Steve's angel mother for putting in a good word up there in heaven, so that God could answer my miserable little 'gimme prayer' by sending me a Prince. One who rescued me from the savannah and 'loves me forever.'
BIO: "I write many different types of stories that include inspirational, fiction, non-fiction, noir, humor and poetry. I am a creative writer and am working on a novel, while freelancing. "
The Desert Rocks