Thursday, June 25, 2009

more from Rachel's journal

Some people refuse to believe in fate, or destiny, or the hand of God in everyday situations. Call it what you will; I believe in it. When I met that woman Heather Simpson in the doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago, I admit I felt some connection with her. I avoided it, I swerved as far from the center of her as I could, and yet she approached and drew me into conversation, which I could not be indifferent of as hard as I tried. There was something in her manner, some soft and vibrant strand of sympathy and compassion. She cared for a stranger. How often does that happen? She found my book and she read it and then she went looking for more. And she didn’t just read it, she allowed it to affect her. She allowed herself to be moved and she asked questions and explored. How many people do that? And then she sought to connect with me again. I managed to avoid that, but I could not put it past me all day, and even throughout the week.

Is it destiny then, that put her in the pharmacy with Ruth, where she could overhear my name? And is it fate that lured us to the same bookstore, to hear a short lecture from an author we mutually admire? I cannot seem to escape her, despite the part of me that wants nothing to do with anyone new, the part that would rather recruit itself to a desert island for some incalculable amount of time. Until it passes.

But that part of me that wishes for connection...this is simply irresistible! I may have seen her first, today in the bookstore. There were 20 or more people in the rows of chairs between the bookshelves, all comfortably conversing and quietly waiting for things to begin. Once I had seen and recognized her, it became impossible to concentrate. I knew I must apologize for my rudeness. I knew I could not leave the store without having done so. The lecture, which at another time may have been calming and enlightening and leisurely, was suddenly an obstacle in my path. I couldn’t wait for it to be done, and yet I had to wait. Then I had to wait as people slowly rose from their chairs, and as some made their way to the front to the speaker, and I had to make my way to her. She turned just as I was almost to her, and recognized me, and I saw surprise and dread and a forced politeness cross her face. Maybe that was my imagination, though. I expected her to run away, to be curt and professional and in a hurry, as I had been. She did not run. She smiled, and whether the smile was genuine or forced, it did not matter, because my mission was to have her forgive me, and I would not be deterred.

I believe her forgiveness was genuine, but just to be sure, I invited her to have lunch that very hour. I felt obligated to do it. I wanted to give her something, after having taken something away. If she accepted, I knew I could feel forgiven.

She did accept. How can I describe a connection like this one? I am taken by her beauty, but that aside, she has a beautiful mind. She ponders, she questions, she connects what she reads to her life, and she lives vicariously. I am struck by her energy, and yet she seems sad, like she has been in a cage so long she doesn’t know how to fly out even though the door has been opened for her. Comfortable on her narrow perch, she sits and watches the other birds, not daring to explore. Not even willing to stretch her neck through the opening. My instinct is to take her hand and draw her out, so she can feel the sun on her skin, and not just read about what it feels like.

I enjoyed my two-hour lunch with her, but I had to meet other obligations. I think she enjoyed it too. Parting her company at the front of the store was like getting to the end of a book well–written. You want more, and yet you know if there is a sequel you must pick it up later. I do hope to be able to spend time with her again. In fact I think I will find it necessary.


  1. it's this kinda stuff that gives me those Weird dreams. I'm going to have to .. maybe just stop reading. (you know I wouldn't). but that's what I ought to do, really.

    go study needles or acupuncture or something else instead ;-)

  2. love it! What does Heather look like again? I bet my image is different then yours. Mia too...oh, I love reading your works! LOVE IT!

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  4. found your blog recently, you're so open about so many deeply personal things, it's pretty impressive. I noticed you haven't updated your blog in a while, hopefully you'll get around to it. We actually visit the same site also there's also another one know called


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