It's almost Valentine's day, so romance is in the air. I'm trying to avoid the chocolate this year, so I'll focus on the love. My own love, in particular.
Love is a tricksy beast, hard to predict, fickle and cunning. When you're looking you can't seem to find her, and she sneaks up on you when you've given up. At least that's how she's treated me.
I'm constantly amazed at the coincidences and twists of fate that brought me where I am now, all the decisions that didn't seem that important at the time, but ended up changing the trajectory of my life.
In the early 1990s, I went on a Honors trip. Basically, kids who were in the Honors Programs at various Kentucky universities all came together and travelled for a week, learning about the history and geography of our fine state. I'd been on one before and had a lovely time and jumped at the chance to go on another.
It was fun. We ate a lot, played pool in the rec rooms at different colleges, laughed, and talked and talked and talked. There was a boy there I made friends with. We connected over a book. We found out that his parents and my parents didn't live that far apart.
At the end of the trip, he invited me to go to a Jimmy Buffett concert with him. I was engaged to someone else, and we were both clear this was a "friends" thing, so I went. It was a wet and miserable night and I was pretty muddy by the end of it, but we had a great time.
It didn't seem like any big deal at the time. But that not-really-a-date laid the groundwork for our friendship to continue. Anytime I came into town to see my parents, I also saw this friend. We'd get coffee, see a movie, take a walk, and talk. Always we'd talk. He was so easy to talk to.
Fast forward twelve years, and we've both had our hearts broken by other people. I was divorced and moving back in with my parents to deal with the financial fallout. He was getting ready to go to grad school. For the first time in all those years of friendship, we were both single at the same time. And boom! There it was.
It's already been another decade since then. We're still happy. So, thanks, Jimmy. Laughing in the rain and singing about spongecake is, apparently, the start of something beautiful.