Life never goes according to plan. As long as you make peace with this sentiment, disappointments become much easier to swallow.
It’s the unexpected that keeps us on our toes and in anticipation for what’s to come. But it’s tricky. Get a streak of bad events to occur back-to-back, and you’re down in the dumps. Often though, it’s the unique combination of disappointing events that usher the way to something monumental. An occurrence that has so much cosmic profundity, that despite your fragile state, you can’t help but be astonished.
A couple of weeks ago, I went on a trip that I never should have taken in the first place. I knew in my gut that it was wrong. The fact that the destination was Florida should have been enough of an indication. I followed through anyways.
Everything felt wrong from the moment of being picked up from the airport. My prospective fling was politely distant - a contrast to the phone conversations and letters we’d been sending to one and other for the last couple months. She dropped the bombshell on me 20 minutes into the car ride that she had recently picked up a new boyfriend. On the day that I had bought my plane ticket, they had apparently gone on their first date together. Perfect timing. I was not informed until my arrival.
After 3 painful days of attempting a platonic approach to our rapport, it became obvious to both of us what a terrible idea this was. A 6 day vacation was suddenly truncated short when I decided to spend the rest of the day on my own, a decision that made my friend upset enough to tell me not to come back.
I took a cab and retreated to a bohemian cafe on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. While searching for the next flight out of town, I remembered what had happened the day before. An RV, about 10 feet away from where I had been sitting at the time, plowed through 3 cars with reckless force, and plummeted straight into a tree. The driver apparently had a heart attack. There was a big pandemonium as the crowd hovered around, and I sat down wondering “Can anything in my life go right?”
I should have been grateful that I was alive. That I wasn’t involved in the accident. Had I crossed that street 10 minutes later, I could have easily been a causality.
But I couldn’t appreciate anything at the moment.
Suddenly, I lifted up my head and saw a familiar face. It was Renda Writer, a mürmur guest from 3 years ago. I couldn’t believe my eyes. We both observed each other with curiosity before embracing one and other with a hug. Neither of us knew that we were in town. A grossly exuberant coincidence that I couldn’t help but chalk up to a higher force. Next thing I know, I’m getting a ride from him to the airport.
I’ll never forget that car ride. There was so much about Renda that I wanted to emulate. His lust for life, his independence, the way he lived off of his van and sold art for living without a single care for what anyone thought of him. Age didn’t matter for him either - he was a free spirit in the truest form and lived life as he pleased without guilt or shame.
I started to wander, how did I end up deviating so much? Why is it that the past year has suffocated me with challenge after challenge. When am I going to reap the benefits of all this hardship and attain a similar spirit as Renda?
When I got dropped off at the airport, I felt a gratitude that I hadn’t felt in a long time. A rekindling of faith that I had been so thirsty for so long.
As I looked out through the window, it became obvious what the true purpose of my trip was. It wasn’t the girl. It wasn’t anything that I wanted or expected it to be. It was something else. Something that I’m not sure whether I can even articulate in words right now. A strange form of kismet and serendipity that will stay with me forever.
God bless you Renda. And Thank you to mürmur for blessing me with the opportunity of meeting such amazing people. You’re the reason why I am standing, and growing today.
(Originally published April 28th, 2018)