Serendipity on East 21st

“Taxi!” they both shouted, standing on opposite sides of a one-way street. The heavy rain muffled the sounds between them so neither heard the other’s call. Although they had both been standing there for some time, they had failed to see each other through the watery sheet. They just as easily could have gone their separate ways without knowing they had, for a moment, been close to the other.

Instead, a bright yellow cab slowly rolled to a stop in the street between them, and they both rushed for their respective passenger door to find solace from the storm. They were so frenzied getting into the cab that it was already zooming through the city streets before they noticed they were sharing the car.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said one, “I didn’t realize.”

“No, it’s my fault,” said the other.

Recognizing the each other’s voice, they looked up, and suddenly realization registered on both their faces.

“Are you…” they both started, and then began laughing

“I can’t believe it.”

“It’s been years.”

“More than years.”

And with that it all came flooding back: the adventures they had together and the un-adventures that were made that much better by the presence of the other; the time spent learning everything about each other’s lives and families, their passions, their quirks; the laughter, all of the laughter that came with their time together; the tears that would eventually follow.

The tunes that had played on repeat floated through their heads—they used to be able to sing Fleetwood Mac Rumors in their sleep, and now they hummed along like nothing had changed. Together they visited their old haunts—the outcropping by the river they liked to think was only theirs, the bar where they had done so many things that they could only laugh about the next day, the dingy Mediterranean restaurant that they discovered one day when they were lost that had become their go-to. They could taste the falafel now.

As the cab swerved around a corner, they began to think of the years spent apart. So much had changed: new lessons learned, new favorites found, new songs to sing. They had become new people. They began to tell each other about their lives, to share everything they had done since they last parted. One had a spouse and a kid on the way. The other was preparing for a move overseas for a new job and a new life.

It was clear how much time had been lost, but still, they slipped back into conversation as if they had seen each other yesterday. They didn’t know how long they talked in that cab, but they could have gone on forever. It seemed that the result of everything changing had been no change at all. It was just like it had always been between the two of them, easy and free.

All too soon the cab stopped at the first destination. They both thought about exchanging numbers, meeting up some other time, bringing their two lives back together. But neither said anything. They had both done things they weren’t proud of at the end, things they could never bring themselves to atone for. They knew their reuniting could only happen by fate—if they tried to make it happen it could never work.

One got out of the car, and the other drove away.

They never did see each other again. They didn’t really expect to. They went on with their lives and continued changing and growing. But every time either of them was standing on a street corner on a rainy day, waiting for a cab, they always peered across the street hoping to see the other.


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