Love At First Sight
by Wislawa Szymborska
Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
but uncertainty is more beautiful.
Because they didn't know each other earlier, they suppose that
nothing was happening between them.
What of the streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?
I'd like to ask them
whether they remember-- perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
an "excuse me" in a crowd
or a voice "wrong number" in the receiver.
But I know their answer:
no, they don't remember.
They'd be greatly astonished
to learn that for a long time
chance had been playing with them.
Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way
and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side. There were signs, signals:
but what of it if they were illegible.
Perhaps three years ago,
or last Tuesday
did a certain leaflet fly
from shoulder to shoulder?
There was something lost and picked up.
Who knows but what it was a ball
in the bushes of childhood.
There were doorknobs and bells
on which earlier
touch piled on touch.
Bags beside each other in the luggage room.
Perhaps they had the same dream on a certain night,
suddenly erased after waking.
is but a continuation,
and the book of events
is never more than half open.
-translated by Walter Whipple
I love this poem by Polish poet and Nobel prize winner Wislawa Szymborska. Even if you are one of those people who harbors serious skepticism about the whole Fate thing, you can’t deny the funny coincidences that happen in life. Or the artful ways in which lives intersect. It's why I also love the movie The Danish Poet.
When I moved to Nashville two years ago, I moved into an apartment less than a hundred yards from his. He lived right across the parking lot from me. We shared the same mailbox kiosk. We shopped at the same grocery store and went to the same bank.
When he started his new job a year ago, it was half a mile down the street from where I work. We shared the same commute every morning and every evening. We frequented the same park and the same lunch spots. We even worked for the same client.
We were running parallel and didn’t know it until we happened to meet, by chance, in a crowd of people on a random Saturday night. That whole “right place at the right time” thing I guess. Funny.