The Man in the Cafe

03 Jul

It always happens this way. How could I have forgotten?

The Universe sends you people.

You can drunk dial all your exes. You can fire off a thousand emails on dating sites. In the end, though, you have to admit that the best people never come into your life as a result of stress, straining or hyped-up campaigns.

The folks in your life, whether pleasant brief encounters or serious partners, always arrive serendipitously.

So it was that on a recent morning as I was reading a novel in the coffee bar on the Queen Mary II, drinking an overpriced cappuccino and celebrating another day at sea without a hangover, a big tall handsome friendly British business man came and sat down on the adjacent stool.

We said hello, engaged in ordinary chatter. It was amiable and a little bit awkward. I took mental notes: pale blue eyes in a big square face, gruff manner masking kindness, oversized in a nice way. Eventually we said goodbye. He winked, which almost made me blush. It’s been a long time.

I thought about it once or twice during the day. My heart did not pound. I did not obsess.

The next morning, same time, I was in the coffee bar, and he showed up again. This time, he made a point of squeezing into the only seat next to me. Seemed an awful lot like a second date.

We talked more and longer this time. Eventually he left. There was interest but the time was not yet right for either of us to suggest dinner or a rendezvous in the night club later. It was what it was: pleasant, brief, just right. Perhaps there would be a third encounter that would spark a romance.

I did not see him again. I felt a twinge of disappointment but it was nothing like the heart-sinking ruminations I have experienced after those depressing exercises in mutual appraisal and rejection known as bad dates.

To the contrary, I was delighted to discover that it was possible for someone to take an interest, and for me to feel a bit interested myself. More than that, I was grateful to be reminded that finding a person is not an agonizing slog to the summit.

The Higher Power will send us friends. Our part is to let go of control, try to quiet our fears and put ourselves in situations where others congregate, allow people to enter our lives.

The qualities to cultivate are patience, faith, openness, and receptivity, and, most importantly, the ability to be happy in the interim.

The Universe will do the rest.

I am so grateful for the man in the ship’s cafe–not for being a prince made in Hollywood but for bringing a simple life-affirming truth to my attention.

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Posted by on July 3, 2011 in Clarity, Essays


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