Do you ever wonder how much of your life is fate and how much of it is an elaborate game of chance?
I wonder all the time.
When I was twelve, I went to a party for a friend. Her parents had hired a fortuneteller. I remember clear as day walking up to this woman and asking her for a glimpse into my future. She took my hand in hers, and made a painful face. She rubbed a deep line that cut through my heart line and said- Oh boy, Ouch.
What does that mean?
I will never forget what she said to me. She gently rubbed that deep line and said she was sorry, because my heart was going to break. Only once, but I would carry the scar with me forever. She then smiled and said, but don’t worry because you’ll meet your man right after that and give him two sons. You will be happy. And then she refilled her punch glass and joined the party as if I had only asked her for the time of day.
Thanks, I think?
As an adult, I think telling any girl on the brink of teenage-hood that she would have her heart broken is a pretty safe bet. But this woman was right. It only happened the once, and oh boy, ouch.
The man I did marry walked into my life, as foretold, soon after. A friend of his wanted to ask me out, but didn’t know how. My husband played a very slick game of matchmaker and it would have been a genius plot, if only I wanted to play the part.
Instead, on a complete whim when I found myself alone with him for ten unexpected minutes, I turned to him and told him that he needed to be the one to ask me out.
He was wild, and nothing like me. I thought maybe it could be a summer fling worth remembering, because there was no way that he and I would ever be anything serious.
Naturally, we’ve been happily married for over fifteen years now.
And I did give him two sons.
Fate? Or chance?
Newly married, my husband and I talked about where we wanted to live our lives. There was a neighborhood that I liked, where there were sidewalks and a pool. It was in a small town that was mostly farms, but had enough decent shopping that I wouldn’t really have to leave town unless I wanted something special. We were very young and this neighborhood was not full of starter homes. I was full of family homes so it would have to be someday…maybe. He liked the idea, but part of him wanted to see more of the world and didn’t know how.
So I did what I normally do. I planned. We would see about that neighborhood in five to seven years. I made myself a map to get me from where I was to where I wanted to be.
But then there was a game of bowling and a bag of M&Ms that tossed all of my plans out the window.
My husband is the sort that when the door of opportunity opens, the first thing he does is look for an open window. In the first week of his first “grown up” job, he and I were chatting on the phone. I heard some men talking in the background and then my husband announced (out of the blue) that he would be home late. What transpired was there were some higher up suits who decided to take an evening of bowling up. It had been a long day, and they could all use a beer. My husband thought maybe it would be a good thing to socialize with the powers that be, and very skillfully made himself available and was invited along.
A conversation at a bowling alley about the desire to get a little travel in turned into him being selected for a particular business trip.
The guy that went bowling with us, send him. He said he wanted to get out a bit.
He packed his bags, everything he thought he would need and at the last minute grabbed a large bag of M&Ms. He flew over the big blue ocean and returned to me with a job offer.
Because when resumes were on the desk, somebody said- That guy who brought the M&Ms, what’s his name again? We liked him.
The rest is history. He still travels with a large bag of M&Ms for every office he visits.
This past month, we put move number eleven under our belts. I have lived in apartments, town houses, brownstones, and gated communities. From end to end, my zip codes have spanned three countries and 8,766 miles.
Trust me when I tell you the investment in the Mars Candy Company has come back to us a thousand fold.
And here I sit in my new office of my new home, in that very neighborhood we talked about fifteen years ago. All the while, my husband has seen nearly every country there is to see.
Fate? Or chance?
Even my writing career, I wonder.
I always wanted to be a writer, and I think I would still be in that boat. But one afternoon, my child was playing on the playground with the youngest child of Eliza Knight. We chatted, as moms do, but she’s not one to start out with “Well, I’m an award winning novelist.” No, she was just a regular mom that day. But then I ran into her at a party, and I discovered she was, in fact, Historical Romance Novelist Eliza Knight. Needless to say I had a million questions, and God bless her, she answered every one.
I decided right then that I would make this writer thing happen.
Me writing it, was fate.
You reading it, was chance.
Over a year and a half ago, a character showed up in my mind. I immediately knew he was lost. I write sweet romances. His story was anything but sweet. And as writers do, I talked to him. I told him that I am not the writer he is looking for. He is not in the right place. For a fictional guy, he took up a lot of space in my life. He was broken, and bloodied. The wings on his back were tattered. The sword in his hand too heavy for him to hold. He sat himself down in a corner of my mind and said he was in the right place. He would wait, but not for long.
Every time we crossed paths, I smiled and said I still don’t know what to do with you.
I went on to write one complete sweet romance, and plot out what should be my next project.
But as the song goes, there is a drumming noise inside my head, and it starts when he’s around.
So I took classes. A lot of classes. I threw plot lines around and he tossed them aside like a small greedy child feverishly unwrapping Christmas gifts. Next, next, next.
He frustrated me. I knew what his story was, I just didn’t know how to tell it.
And then I planned a fun weekend for my husband. I was fully prepared to be with him, but bored out of my damned mind while he geeked out at a local convention.
However, what I discovered was that I accidentally threw myself into a den of writers. Writers of the particular genre that my fallen angel could benefit from. I grabbed chance by the neck, and used every opportunity I had to ask questions and take notes. My husband’s geeky weekend away turned into a business trip for me.
My fallen angel finally stepped into the light, and he brought along some friends too.
I can see it on his face. See, I told you I was in the right place.
This fall I will begin to write his story down.
His is a tale of fates and chances.
I look at the lines on my hands and wonder what all my fortuneteller saw, what is fated to be mine and what will only be mine by chance.
The angel whispers in my ear- Now love, is there really a difference?
And then he smiles wickedly, and draws his sword.