A man is rushing to get to his accountant’s office on time so he can pick up his tax records. These are the only bit of paperwork he still needs to gather, and he is nervous because he’s running late. When he arrives the accountant is quite gracious about his tardiness, and now the man and the woman he loves have all their papers in order – they can properly declare their marriage status to the U.S. government. Clutching the documents in his hand he crosses Madison Avenue at 58th Street, on his way to the subway, intent on getting back downtown so he can show them to his bride.

Lost in his thoughts as he steps onto the crowded sidewalk, thinking about how pleased his wife will be, he collides with a fast moving pedestrian – a woman walking rapidly up Madison Avenue. This being New York, both mumble cursory apologies and continue on their way. But something makes him turn around – he stares after the woman. He runs to catch up with her. It’s his wife. They look into each other’s face with wonder and surprise. She tells him she wasn’t even supposed to be here – she had gotten out at the wrong subway stop. If not for that, or if either of them had been even ten seconds earlier or later along their respective journeys, they would have missed each other entirely.

In fact, she tells him, she had been on her way to the French Consulate, with his U.S. Passport in her bag – which he had handed to her only the day before – to declare their marriage to her own government. He shows her the tax documents from his accountant, all signed and ready to go, and she smiles with joy – they now have everything they need. The two of them continue onward, walking together, to the Consulate.

If you saw this scene in a movie you might roll your eyes. What lazy screenwriting is this? What kind of amateur throws such an impossible set of coincidences into the tale?

And what if it happens in real life? What if it happens exactly like that? Then what do you think? Do you say to yourself it is simply part of the mystery of love? Or simply part of the mystery of New York?

3 thoughts on “Mystery”

  1. Staggering coincidences stand out in our minds, thus becoming memorable events. Looking back we only remember the memorable events, which leads us to believe they happened all the time!

    Ahh, the good old days … when people used to run into each other all the time …

  2. Mystery or coincidence … When it comes to love (not the kind learned turning slowly from liking to quiet appreciation, but) the kind that makes one stop suddenly trying to understand what has changed in the world (in the 10th dimension perhaps, because otherwise all seems the same) just before it happens – no coincidence I’ve had ever felt like mesmerizing, mysterious love happening.

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