In a previous post, I wrote about pots and lids and decisions and fate. But, I am a true believer in a whole range of motion when it comes to fate.
I don't believe in soul mates. Sorry. I know that this will cause many of you to e-mail me, etc. and tell me that there is too! such a thing as fate, that you are currently living happily with your soul mate.
Sorry. I don't buy it. I believe that there are many, many paths to happiness that exist for all of us. And, on the flip side, many, many paths to unhappiness. If Bing and I weren't together, we could be happy with others. Maybe not AS happy, but happy. I believe that we don't just have one person out there who we are destined to be with. I think there are LOTS of them.
This doesn't mean that I am unhappy with Bing (although this morning she made me so mad that I could have thrown a dish at her), it just means that there are others out there for both of us, if we had chosen to go that way.
We didn't. We chose each other. And it's all good.
But, be honest...don't you ever wonder what if?
What if I had married my high school sweetheart?
What if I hadn't married so young, had waited. Would I have met someone else?
What if I hadn't broken up with so and so? Would we have made it?
What ifs aren't unhealthy, unless you obsess over them. What ifs make us think.
Take today. After I dropped Liv off at school, I went for coffee with my bff, Harriet and Jack, another parent. We talked about our partners. Actually, I think we were bitching about our partners. I was in a snit at Bing. (Long story involving a toilet that she supposedly fixed but didn't and me taking a shower and getting blasted with steaming hot water every time the toilet gurgled.) Harriet was pissy at her husband whose turn it was to drive the kids to school but snuck out of the house early to go to breakfast with his friends, leaving her to do it. Jack told us that the best thing about being divorced was that he didn't have to deal with his ex wife's bad moods in the morning.
Harriet jokingly commented that she knew she should have married Chuck, the man she dated before her husband.
"He was nuts about me," she said. "If I had told him to get on the floor and bark like a seal, he would have. Now THAT was a man who knew how to take orders. Too bad that I couldn't stand his family or the way that he seemed overly devoted to his mother, so I broke up with him."
After coffee, I decided to stop at my neighborhood library because they were having their annual book sale. Tons of good books to be had for 50 cents and a dollar!
I wandered up and down the aisles, turning my head sideways from time to time to check out titles, pulling some books out to read their jackets, etc.
I glanced up to see a very good looking Indian man standing next to me in jeans and a suede jacket. We smiled and our eyes caught, one of those looks where you sort of check each other out. Nothing naughty, nothing sullied, just...a bit of an interest.
I went back to looking at titles and I thought about how I have always been interested in certain types of men and women. In men, I find Indian men attractive. I have a friend, Nirand, who is the spitting image of Mohinder Suresh from Heroes. I like men who are what Bing calls "John Boys", men who look and act sort of poetic and writerly. John Cusack. Johnny Depp. John Malkovich. When it comes to women, I am less choosy but Laura Linney, Diane Lane and Jodie Foster do it for me nicely, nicely.
I kept looking and finally gave up and went into the library itself to pick up a book that was waiting for me on hold: Complications by Atul Gawand. And there he was again, the Indian gentleman. This time he looked at the book in my hands and smiled.
"Now, I hear that one is good," he said.
I ventured that yes, I had heard that too and checked out the books in his hands: Travels With Charley and another book that I had never heard of. I pointed at his Steinbeck.
"One of my favorites," I said.
"So, you like Steinbeck?"
"Yes. How can anyone not like Steinbeck?" I asked him.
We shared the elevator back down to the book sale and parking lot. Right before we got to the doors out, he said, "YES! I knew I had recognized you. You are a patient of Dr. House's aren't you?"
I stopped. Said yes. He then told me that he was an associate of his, that his name was Dr. Chattaranjan and he had seen me about a month ago when Dr. House had asked him to come in and show me some back exercises that had worked for a similar patient of his.
"My name is Chapal," he said, holding out his hand. "Very nice to see you again."
We shook hands. I stood there vividly remembering my last trip to the doctor, the wonderful time where I had wet my pants and his nurse had graciously given me scrubs to wear. Had he known? Had Dr. House shared with him that I had peed my pants? I felt embarrassed just thinking about it.
Chapal was good looking, I thought. More in a Sayid way, but very easy on the eyes. And that deep, luscious accent, like he would know exactly what to do with his hands in bed.
"So, how are you doing?" he asked.
I had a moment of thinking he meant my bladder before I realized that he meant my back. I told him that I was doing fine and thanked him for the exercises.
"Do you ever do them?" he asked.
I sighed. Decided to be truthful.
"Rarely," I told him. He threw his head back a little and laughed. Lovely white teeth. Did I mention that I truly adore white teeth in a person?
"Not surprised," he said.
We walked slowly to our cars and then he pointed to my ring finger.
"That is a lovely stone," he commented, smiling.
A question being asked.
"My partner gave it to me. It's an amethyst. She knows how much I like purple stones," I answered.
So, yeah. Two questions answered in one shot. His eyes acknowledged the unspoken and so did mine. We got to my car first. He wished me well and said to come say hello the next time I had to visit Dr. House. I said that I would, knowing that I probably wouldn't.
I got in my car and headed to Whole Foods to pick up some clementines for Liv's lunch tomorrow. I thought about Chapal on the drive over. I imagined that I was single and us going on a date. Maybe falling for each other. Thought about his rich black hair and those white, white teeth in my bed. Pictured him teaching Liv how to play soccer, standing by my kitchen stove making curry and telling me about his day.
I got to Whole Foods and picked up the clementines and picked up some goat's milk yogurt for me since I was suddenly starving. I nabbed a plastic spoon from the espresso counter and sat in the car eating my yogurt. It was so delicious that after my last spoonful, I actually stuck my mouth inside the container to lick the sides and rim of it. Slurped a bit.
Looked up and saw him. AGAIN.
Chapal. This time he was standing in front of my car curiously watching me snarf up my yogurt. I quickly stopped acting like a pig and rolled down my window. He stepped to the side of the car.
"Are you following me?" We both said it at the same time and then laughed.
I held up my yogurt. "I was just getting a few groceries and um...got a little hungry," I said. "What's your excuse?"
He held up a Wall Street Journal. "I was on my way in to get a chai tea and read the paper before my first patient. I thought that looked like your car..."
I said I had to be going then and he stepped back and waved with his paper.
I put the car in reverse and drove away.
Well. If he knew I had peed my pants, now he could add eats yogurt like a pig to my list of charming attributes.
On the way home, I thought about him some more. This time, I pictured him being a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am man in bed. I pictured him not liking kids and thinking that Liv was boring. Rolling his eyes at me because I couldn't learn to make a decent curry like his mother's.
It could happen. Either way. A range of motions that could come to be.
The thing about fate is that when it comes knocking, you always have a choice. And maybe it is best when things don't happen, you know?
Free will is a good thing. Being loyal and committed in a relationship is a good thing too.
When I got home, there was a message on the answering machine from Bing.
Hey...hon. I'm sorry that I was snotty to you this morning about the toilet. Yeah, I did fix it, but obviously not well if you almost got burned in the shower because it was what did you call it? Gurgling? I'll take another look at it tonight, okay? Hey, have a good day. I'll bring home chinese okay? So, don't worry about cooking. You know you hate it anyway. Anything good on TV tonight? Or maybe some stupid TV? Any excuse to snuggle under a blanket with you, darlin. Well, gotta go subdue the masses...I love you. Bye.
Sometimes you are just happy with what you have.
But, tell me...I'm curious. What or who are your what ifs?