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“What you writing?” the musician asks in broken English after introducing himself. He’s not the first man to use my propensity to sit alone and write as a conversation starter, but he seems authentically curious, unlike those who work it into a pickup line.
My journal is my screening process. Those who ask if I’m writing them a love letter guarantee it will be a short conversation. This one isn’t going to be.
As if glimpsing a scene from my future, I glance down at my journal before responding. As far as I know today, entry is just one of thousands, or maybe even millions, I’ve written since being gifted my first latch and key diary in childhood. Journaling is something I do on the most ordinary days of my life. Nothing about this day is ordinary.
Neither of us has any way of knowing that the words I’ve just written will inspire the first chapter of a book someday. The book will be based upon a blog that will invite people to reach out by the droves with their own stories about a topic I now know little to nothing about. Life is interesting like that.
“I’m journaling about this experience,” I respond. “And all the synchronicities that led to me arriving here today.”
“That’s inspirational,” he says. We discuss our expressions of creativity, and how we came to be the musician and the writer whose lives have intersected in this moment. He began playing guitar when he came to the United States because playing music from home made him feel less homesick. I came to Florida to publish a book without my New York distractions. I share my dream of traveling the world on a bestselling book tour.
“What is book about?” he asks. It’s not a question I’ve learned to answer with an elevator speech, so my response of “love and relationships” is generic and not entirely accurate. But it initiates a conversation about dating.
He is upfront about the fact that he is divorced and has a daughter who lives with him. I share that I’m not currently dating anyone but am planning to meet the man who inspired the male lead of my novel for coffee when I get back to New York.
“Is he your future?” the musician asks.
“I guess I’ll find that out in the future,” I reply. “But I live in the now.”
The musician smiles in a way that almost makes me forget how much I’ve been looking forward to seeing “Zak” for the first time in years.
That evening, we ride alongside the ocean, through patches of palms and tropical plants. It’s a stunningly beautiful night, the first balmy one I’ve experienced since arriving in South Florida. Nature is crisper than usual; everything is in such sharp focus. The aroma of the salty sea air is so strong, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore so vivid. My senses feel like they’re on steroids. I feel so connected with all that is.
As we ride, the topics of our conversation go much deeper than I’m accustomed to on a first date. I am surprised by how open this man is; his vulnerable stories are the type you share when you really know and trust someone. I feel honored.
“I have a feeling I’m going to remember this night for a very long time,” he expresses. I concur. Our connection had been in the making for a long time, just waiting for my yes.
I don’t yet realize what it is I’m actually saying yes to.
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