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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Serendipity

Alighting at London Victoria, I approached the black cab to ask the driver if he'd take me to Covent Garden, but he simply signalled that I should hop in the back, regardless.

From the instant we looked at each other, there was a connection. Chemistry. I took one look at him and liked him. My age perhaps or younger. Slim, nice looking. Comfortable in his own skin.

In the fifteen minutes it took him to drive me up Grosvenor Place, along Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue, we talked non-stop about all kinds of stuff. His love of Italy. Loads of different stuff. It felt like I'd known him for the longest time ... we were bantering like old friends. Easy. I didn't mention that I was a widow, because it no longer defines me as a person.
But then he asked me if I was on a date, and I explained that I wasn't. That I had become friends with a widower through blogging and we were having lunch together. And so, I found myself sharing my marital status with him ... but only in the context of lunch, rather than as a stand-alone subject. He asked me about Cliff and what happened. And then I found myself divulging more and more ...
"So, I don't date."
"You don't DATE?"
"No, I'm not ready for it. Just not ready for all that emotional shit. And complications. Every now and again, I meet up with an old friend who happens to be man enough to accept that I'm using and abusing him. He helps me. And never crosses that boundary, you know? He knows that I've compartmentialized it away from the rest of my life. Separate. No emotions attached. No bullshit. I don't need someone rocking up on my doorstep. Or projecting their emotional idiosyncracies onto me."
"Well, if I promise to do none of that, can I help you out. You're only an hour away."
We both laugh. Really laugh. Loudly. But not awkward. Comfortable.
Eye contact.
And in an instant, we both know he's not joking. He knows exactly how to talk to me without coming across as an opportunist. He looks me straight in the eye and says, "you must get it all the time ... men giving out their standard chatup lines," and I say I used to, but these days I never know what to say and tend to go quiet."
I can feel him looking at me even though I'm looking at the floor. He says, "there really is something special about you apart what you can see. It's like you've got this extra thing ... an aura. Yes, that's it. You're surrounded by, you give out, you have an aura."
"Have I." I respond quietly. Still gazing at floor. Still feeling his eyes on me. Still feeling like I'm 15 again.
I'm wondering if my aura is love. Or if it's bright red, because all I can see in my mind ... is me climbing all over him. Or if my aura is in fact Cliff wrapping me up in his love. And it's that strong that this man can sense it. And if my aura changes colour according to who I'm with, how they make me feel, or if I sense that they are genuine ... that they get a glimpse of the girl that Cliff knew.
We arrive at Carluccio's and I have this compulsion to say, "take me somewhere later." Instead, there is more eye contact. A girl is climbing in the back of his cab, yet I'm still standing there. He's still looking at me, oblivious to his next fare. I want to say the words, but I'm mute. I turn to go across to the restaurant and we're still holding that eye contact.
I break eye contact to cross the road and he slowly eases off.
"Serendipity," I'm telling myself.
"Serendipity?" WTF is wrong with me? The universe has already taught me that the chances of things working out the way I want them to, are slim to none. I'm kicking myself. Why didn't I take his phone number?
"Serendipity," I tell myself. If you see him again, it's meant to happen.
"Serendipity?" I don't want to marry him. I just want to climb all over him. Feel alive. Laugh like I already know we can. And laugh in the way that you only can with a lover. I want to feel safe enough so I can let go. But not too safe, so there's that edge ...
"Serendipity," my friend says when I tell her about my 15 minute cab journey.
There are 120000 Black Cab drivers in London.
Serendipity indeed.
"He could be a serial killer," my other friend muses. "Well, that's a win-win for me," I respond. "I either get to be with Cliff again, or I get to enjoy him."
"You could ask Capital Radio or Radio One to put out an appeal," suggests another. "Are you shitting me? He'd think I was a bunny-boiler."
So, this song is dedicated to a man who lives in North London. A Black Cab driver who took me from Victoria to the corner of Garrick and Rose Street. The man who somehow managed to make me feel like me again. For 15 minutes.
I still want to climb all over him.
I wonder if he can make me forget my name.

8 comments:

  1. Boo!!!!!!!!!!!

    Serendipity?

    I love this post, and found myself living vicariously through you. Maybe I need to start taking cabs as well. Are cabs the new single's bar?

    I laughed so hard with your comment about him possibly being a serial killer being a win-win for you. That is so funny, because I found myself in the same situation just last night, only I didn't leave it to serendipity. I went to his house. And as I walked up to the door I was thinking the same thing. "What if he is a serial killer?" Ha! I should be so lucky. Well, I'm here to writing you, so obviously he wasn't. But in the end, I did get lucky, and that is a good thing!

    No more leaving it up to serendipity. Caution, okay a bit. But for fun connections, always take that extra opportunity to have the option for later.

    And by the way, you definitely have a red "hot" aura. I think you do exude love, and a little bit of play or danger.

    Love you Boo.

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  2. Oh my gosh what a fantastic read! I felt as though I was caught up in an exciting short story in one of my women's magazines written for Valentine's Day! The part about both of you looking at each other and making a real, honest connection. Don't kick yourself about lost opportunities. What you had in the space of 15 minutes was a real gift such as it was and maybe that is what it was meant to be - in that time and space.

    I will refrain from relating my recent blunders talking to the local grocery store manager (my age) whom I've found out is a recent widower. My oldest son just looks at me while we're in the store and shakes his head saying, "Mom, that was so awkward." I reply, "What else is a single mom to do to try and find a man to go out for coffee/dinner with?" Let's just say, that I really haven't cared if I've come off foolish or silly in talking to this man. What do I have to lose when I've already lost what was most important to me?

    I still define and refer to myself as a widow. So I am impressed that you no longer feel a need to. I honestly think I will always do so. Widowhood has in a way become my identity so I will reflect on your view and see how I can use it to perhaps move my thinking/identity in a new direction.

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  3. Wanted to add that I also found the aura comment very interesting. I'm not sure I have an aura, but I do firmly believe that those of us walking in our shoes are here to help move the rest of the world emotionally forward. We are so different inside from "the untouched." Maybe there really is an aura of love surrounding us that can be picked up by perceptive people, and maybe that aura is indeed the love continuing to come from us above. If so, that is a very cool idea because it means that our loved ones are still in our lives helping to support and strengthen us as we continue our earthly journey.

    My favorite line in your story was how it would be a win-win for you if the driver was a serial killer because you'd have pleasure before being reunited with Cliff. That is a wicked sense of humor!

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  4. Have you ever thought about writing romantic novels? That had me hooked to the last word.

    I think I must have missed out when they were handing out auras - no one has ever suggested I have one. Or perhaps it is disguised by the faint odour of sheep.... :D

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  5. Boo - Thanks for the bday wishes (via Supa's page) - just found your blog and wish we could ride in taxis together and feel that noticed every day. Not an easy journey...
    Love your writing, Susan www.thesusie.blogspot.com

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  6. Thanks everyone for your comments, as they reassured me that my thoughts weren't too left field.

    I'm about to post about this subject again ...

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  7. :-)
    I'm grinning from ear to ear.
    I sure hope you "run into him" again.

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  8. me too Janine, but I'm not holding my breath x

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