I met him today. Bumped into him on the streets. Wait…that would imply that it was an accident – a thoughtless play of fate. Like a bird shitting in the sky; clenching its little anus in perfect harmony with your footsteps down below. With your arms swinging, your fingers snapping to the razzy tune in your heart, you’ll be totally oblivious to the world. You’ll think that your steps are in tune with your music, but fate is paying the piper for this one. Your step, your rhythm, your speed is all calculated to set you on a collision path with that bird’s shit.
It will happen very quickly. One minute you’ll be lost in your off-tune rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s I will survive, and the next there’ll be shit splattered on your hair and flowing down your forehead like the River Nile. Just wondering, do all birds have diarrhea? Don’t answer that.
You’ll quickly check if anyone has witnessed your humiliation. That’s your priority. It is not your fault, but you still feel shame. Okay, no one saw it – PHEW! You can now rummage through your bag for something, anything to wipe it off. You’re a lady, of course, your bag is full of stuff – a pen, a novel, a nail clipper, a hair clip (so that’s where it was!) all sorts of things, except the one thing you need, a tissue, a wet wipe, a bandana…zit! You begin to panic. Meanwhile, your left eye is now shut because there’s sticky stuff flowing over it. You’re pretty much hyperventilating by now.
Then memory comes to your rescue – as it always does. There’s a tissue in your novel!You slipped it in there last night because you were too lazy to get out of bed and find a bookmark. What do you know! Yesterday’s lazy can be today’s daisy.
You grab the tissue and try to salvage what little you can of your dignity. And then you march stoically back home. Good thing you weren’t that far from the house, huh? You’re mad at all birds because the criminal will forever remain anonymous. But in your heart of hearts, you know it was an accident.
Birds shit in the air while their wings flap and their vocals stretch. Birds start to shit in one spot and finish in another. Birds shit in the sky, in full glare of daylight. Sometimes that shit will ruin your day. Okay…maybe not the whole day. The point is, you shouldn’t lose any sleep over it. I’m kind of, sort of, used to the idea – your idea in fact – that fate is a little rich kid with a warped sense of humor and way too much time on her hands. End of story. Well…the first part, anyway.
Now to the second part.
My bumping into him. Remember him? The guy this letter is about? You’ve gone and forgotten about him, haven’t you? Well, I said I met him. It’s right there in the first sentence. You can check if you don’t believe me.
Thing is, I didn’t bump into him. I didn’t trip on a stone and crash into his unprepared shoulder. I was not on a collision path with him. Well…I used to be. Back when all I saw was him; when all I heard was him. Strange that with all that seeing and hearing, we still managed to crash and crash.
Not today though. Today should have played out differently. Yes, we were on the same street at the same time. I passed the mannequins at exactly the moment he did…of course I noticed the mannequins…who wouldn’t? They are all the rage these days! I noticed nothing else. He could have simply been one of the teeming humans on the sidewalk. That’s how engrossed I was in my little world.
But then he called my name.
The conversation was so spectacularly humdrum. It lasted about 5 seconds.Not nearly enough to make an impression, right? Wrong!
Suddenly, he’s speaking to me again. He’s telling Ana that he misses me. That he is sorry for hurting me. That he is glad 2018 made us meet randomly on a street. That he wishes we’d lingered. He’s asking all sorts of questions. Can he call me tomorrow? If not, when? Can we meet? When?
First of all, 2018 did not make us do shit.
Second, a year has gone by without an apology or explanation. What’s the big emergency?
Third, if you’ve walked under a certain tree and gotten splattered, not once, not twice, not with the tiny shit of a weaver bird but with the huge shit of a marabou stork, tell me Ari, would you ever go near that tree again? Under that tree, five seconds is plenty of lingering, wouldn’t you say?
The way I see it, fate placed me on that street so I could see just how far I’ve traveled from the girl with the shit in her hair. Fate wanted me to send some love to her because I wouldn’t be me without her. Fate wanted me to realize that I no longer hold a grudge, only a badge. That somewhere along the way, without my realizing it, I’d stopped brooding and ruing. I’d started living again.
Fate might be a little rich kid with a warped sense of humor and too much time on her hands, but she is just as good a prankster as she is a teacher.
You should cut her some slack.