“One minute you’re involved in your life as you know it, when suddenly you see the one…” ~Harville Hendrix
Our meeting was an undeniably destined event, which is why I opened my heart so quickly and fearlessly. So many stars had to align for this man and I to show up at that exact place, at that precise moment in time. So many intricate details had to fall into place. It was a very improbable occurrence, at least statistically.
A friend in Hawaii had to offer a winter job as a dolphin swim guide. It wouldn’t pay a fraction of my career as an addiction specialist, but I was burned out. Serving as a tour guide of the Big Island’s deep blue sea sounded like a great change. What a perfect place to prepare my recently completed novel for publishing!
After releasing the no my mind insisted upon and opening to the yes my spirit yearned for, the Hawaii opportunity had to fall through.
Instead of slipping into deep disappointment, I had to trust that somehow, an even better experience awaited. The Sunshine State had to step up as Hawaii’s understudy when a Floridian coaching company promised an abundance of clients.
They had to break that promise; their only referral was a client who was heading to rehab in Istanbul the day before I arrived in Florida. I couldn’t take her, unless I learned how to time travel. The story you’re about to read might not exist if she’d waited one more day.
A friend had to graciously offer his guest room in Coconut Grove, Miami. His cousins had to come by on their way to a cruise, at the exact time some of my own family vacationed nearby. Off I went to Hollywood Beach.
Four Hotwire employees had to refuse to let me switch my booking, despite the confirmation email stating it was a hostel. It wasn’t.
Staff at the adorable beach hotel, complete with complimentary surfboards and bikes, had to recommend a restaurant. My sister had to agree to eat Mexican food, a first in all the decades we’ve been related. The hostess had to seat us and my beloved nephew right next to the talented musician, who supplied a great soundtrack to our night.
I felt a strong attraction to him and wanted to hear more of his mesmerizing guitar playing. I asked the hostess how late his set would run and returned beforehand, but he’d already left.
“What were you gonna do?” I teased myself. “Flirt with a Floridian musician? What are you, turning 20 again this year?”
A few days later, my friend’s cousins had to stop by again, providing an excuse to return to Hollywood Beach. I booked at the hotel I had once desperately tried to get out of.
They had let me check in five hours early so I could spend the day at the beach. Other guests had to be smoking outside my room when I returned. Hotel staff had to insist upon an upgrade.
As I rolled my suitcase toward my suite, I had to hear a guitar and realize it might be the same musician. I arrived for his very last song, although I will learn he played an extra just for me.
I boldly situated myself on the couch in front of the stage and wrote in my journal. Our eyes met frequently in the space between our creative crafts; my heart danced to his music.
After the final note, he approached, introduced himself and offered to buy me a drink. Unlike the countless men who’ve asked if I was writing them a love letter, he told me the sight of me writing was inspirational. Neither of us knew the journal entry would one day end up on a blog about our relationship, a type I knew nothing about.
If I had known, I would have walked away. Swiftly. Someday, in the depths of deep despair, I’ll wish I had. Someday after that, I’ll be very grateful I didn’t.
Our first conversation surprised me with its intellectual and spiritual depth. Toward the end, he brought up the topic of dating, stating how difficult he found it to meet women of integrity. He was upfront about the fact that he was divorced and that his son lived with him most of the time. I was upfront about the fact that I was planning to meet an ex for coffee when I got back to New York.
“Is he your future?” he asked, intuitively picking up that my intentions for this reunion were not entirely platonic.
“I guess I’ll find that out in the future,” I replied. “But I live in the now.”
Before leaving to pick up his son, we exchanged Facebook info. After packing his equipment, he returned to ask if I wanted company on the bike ride I said I’d be taking that evening. I usually prefer to ride on my own, but something made me say yes.
That same something rode with us alongside the ocean, through patches of palms and tropical plants. Evening turned into a stunningly beautiful night. Nature seemed crisper than usual; everything was in such sharp focus. My senses felt as if they were on steroids.
We continued to tell one another about the moments that led to the one we were sharing. His path from South America made for quite a story and he had quite a gift for telling it. I celebrated the miracles and felt his pain as he described the challenges.
Feeling the emotions of others is both the greatest gift and the cruelest curse of being an empath. In time, it will become a superpower, but not before taking the heroine’s journey that was laid out before me that night.
Conversing with the musician felt more like catching up with an old friend than it did getting to know someone new. There was something so incredibly familiar about him and about our connection. There was something about the night itself.
“I have a feeling I’m going to remember this night for a very long time,” he expressed, as if reading my mind. I knew it had been in the making for a long time, just waiting for my yes.
I didn’t realize what I was actually saying yes to, but one thing was for certain. My life would never be the same.