Musings: Irony and a serendipitous encounter…

The Rhine. LJ Frank, Photographer

by LJ Frank

Outside a village I took a short cut through a small pasture in the middle of a moonless night and stepped on top of a cow that I thought was a large boulder. It’s difficult to discern at any given minute between foolishness and the serendipitous.  Evidence suggested that it was a bull that chased me to the fence though I lost my eyeglasses in flight, unable to identify as much as hear a snorting sound closing in from the rear. I always figured I had a short life span.

Climbing over the fence I was fortunate to have an extra pair of glasses tucked in my jacket and within twenty-four hours I found my way to a train station and aboard I rode to another city.

I sat down next to a woman who after some initial greetings told me a story that occurred the previous night about her uncle who’d heard shouting in the darkness on his farm. We chatted at length until we reached our destination and as we were about to bid adieu she handed me broken eyeglasses found by her uncle at dawn. “Yours?” She asked. We smiled and kissed each other on the cheek and wished each other well.

Months later I received an email from the woman saying how much she enjoyed our conversation and we spoke again by phone a few times, then we faded from each other’s lives.  

About ten years passed when I was having a cup of coffee at a village cafe in another country when the very same woman recognized me even with a mustache. We spent the evening together reminiscing about the nature of irony and serendipity when I told her I lived from moment to moment. She told me she had longer term plans than I.

A couple months after parting I tried to reach her only to discover she was in an accident and her memory had been damaged. It sounded too surreal to comprehend.

A year or so went by when one day I received a letter with foreign stamps on the front from a woman who said she was the sister of the woman I met, Before her sister died she recalled my name with a tear in her eye, and said, “Please find him and send him my smile.”