“Look, sometimes things just happen. You can’t take it personal girl. He just happened to show up. It was just a coincidence.”
Susan gave a perfunctory nod. No point in labouring the matter further. “Sure, you’re right. Just a coincidence.”
“Well listen Sue, I have to go.” Anne reached over and patted Susan’s hand. “Cheer up girl, this too will pass.”
Susan watched her go. She felt a tinge of guilt at the relief she felt but she really wasn’t up for any more clichés. She took another sip of her latte as a dapper young man wearing a fedora at a rakish angle took Anne’s seat in the booth. He flashed a winning smile and tipped his hat.
Well now, here’s a guy with a lot of nerve she thought. “Excuse me, what do you think you’re doing?”
“Hello Susan. I couldn’t help overhearing the tail end of your conversation with Anne. I have a question for you. Do you really believe in coincidences?”
This was turning into a hell of a day. “Look, whatever it is you’re selling you’re wasting your time. I’m not buying, okay? Nor am I interested in giving you my phone number or having dinner with you or anything else. Now would you please just leave?”
He removed his hat and placed it carefully in front of him. “You haven’t answered my question Susan.”
“Listen, if you don’t go away right now I’m going to scream at the top of my lungs.”
He shook his head. “No you’re not.”
She glared at him and opened her mouth to scream. Nothing came out. She could see light dancing in his impossibly blue eyes as a smile formed on his lips. She tried again with the same result, nothing.
He waved a casual hand. “There’s no need, hence no sound. Simple as that.”
“Wait a minute, are you telling me you stopped me from screaming?”
He leaned in and spoke in a low soft voice. “If you answer my question I just might answer yours.” He winked and sat back.
“Um…sure, I believe in coincidences. So what? Why do you ask?”
“As I said, I overheard the end of your conversation with Anne. She said it was a coincidence and you said sure. So, you really do believe in coincidences?”
Susan looked around the café. “I didn’t see anyone sitting near us, where were you? How could you have heard us?”
“That’s not important.”
“Well then, mysterious stranger who eavesdrops on conversations, what is important?”
The smile disappeared from his lips and he sat up straight and looked into her eyes. “There is no such thing as coincidence Susan. That’s what’s important.”
Wondering why she was still engaging with this man she didn’t even know who had sat down without permission she wanted to not ask the question that was on her lips but heard herself asking it anyway.
“Why is that important?”
“Because, Susan, if you really believe in coincidences it’s going to keep you blind to the truth.”
“And what truth might that be?” My god, why was she still talking to this guy?
“The truth that Bruce, your ex-husband, was not in a supermarket purely by accident that he has never set foot in before today. That’s what truth Susan.”
Susan stared hard at the blue-eyed, fedora-wearing stranger across from her and for once in her life she found herself speechless.
“That latte looks very tired Susan. Would you like another one?”
Part 2 Tomorrow