When I arrived, April appeared (gloriously I thought) in her white smock, more blonde than I had imagined. A generous smile welcomed me as she approached, and I felt my head lower in unaccustomed shyness. Even as we slipped into a patter of introductions, it occurred to me that the romantic angle I had devised for the plot was not going to work. I thought: this woman’s life is so different from mine that if I had arrived from the planet Mars, the distance between us could not have been greater.In an attempt to collect myself, I began thumbing the pages of one of the tracts my doctor had written as guides through the bogs of chronic fatigue. Nervously, I began to read aloud, selecting choice advice from the open text. I was encouraged when she seemed more intrigued by my fluster than by the doctor’s good counsel. But when I asked her to dinner she begged off, saying she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t have the energy for an evening. Had my intentions been purer, her explanation would have seemed perfectly reasonable. As it was, I thought: that is the end of that.
However, as is often the case when we try to predict our futures, I was mistaken. From our first steps continuing to our last we see through the glass darkly. Our lives are a series of blind encounters, and no surgeon, no matter how expert in his craft, can alter that. We can never know where the paths we follow may lead, and we cannot take a single step back. And no power available to us can change this fact.
I don’t know why April responded to the calls I made to her after I left, or why she agreed to see me again; or why when we had become familiar and my lips reached for hers, she wanted to receive them. Or how an improbable romance bloomed as it did.
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