I Almost Missed It
I thought she was a blonde. (She’s a redhead.)
The night of the party, I should have been in India digging wells, teaching English, and making a difference. But there was unrest in the region. Just two days earlier, the State Department had canceled our visas.
And so, instead of winging my way over the North Pole, I was on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At a bacchanal.
A two-room apartment jammed with young, attractive, horny people. One of my bosses was there. I was trying to impress him. I was also trying to impress a leggy cutie who was wearing -- this was the seventies -- pink hot pants. Hot pants!
An older woman arrived. (She was twenty-six.) Katheryn was on the arm of a thuggish brute who I later found out was her ex-boyfriend.
At some point during the evening I found myself standing next to the piano. Katheryn was there as well. In the low light of the party, I thought she was a blonde. (She’s a redhead.)
We talked for less than five minutes. Probably about India. Maybe about our mutual friend, the host; I honestly don’t remember.
What I do remember is what happened next.
The party wasn’t even beginning to wind down, but Katheryn and her ex-boyfriend were leaving.
Suddenly she was standing in front of me. She leaned in, confidentially, and pressed a slip of paper into my hand.
“Call me,” she said.
Here are all the ways it shouldn’t have happened.
I should have been in India.
She was at the party with her ex-boyfriend.
I was chasing another girl.
She was five years older than I was.
Our conversation was forgettable.
I didn’t even remember the color of her hair.
But thirty-three years, six houses, and two grown children later, Katheryn and I are still together.
What I learned from this is this:
Life is random.
There’s nothing you can do to plan for the coincidences and contingencies which will come your way; and they’re likely to be more important than whatever else you think is important at the time.
As John Lennon wrote: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
As George Lucas wrote: “Trust the force.”