In the summer of 2002, I made a short train trip into Romania. I loved that country, and by accident, had arrived in Sibiu just as the International Theatre Festival was beginning. I had intended to head towards Brasov from Budapest, but the train ticket seller wouldn’t let me go there, so I wound up settling for Sibiu. What a serendipitous move that was! It was a magical place, especially that week when theatrical people from all over the world were gathering, and plays were being performed in many venues, all over town, for a ten-day period.
I soon met Laura, a local banker/lawyer, who proved to be my first InterGalactic Friend there. Then, standing in the fancy dining room of the Hotel Imparatul Romanilor, watching the retractable ceiling expose a skyfull of stars, I spoke to a fellow-gawker. She turned out to be another IGF, Francoise, of Paris, who provides music and sports education for prodigies among the local orphans. She had just jetted in from Cannes, because her husband is a film producer. The three of us hit the theaters as if we had known each other for years.
I finally tore myself away from this glamorous town because I wanted to see more of Romania before my time was up. So, even though I’d broken my little toe early in my visit (cracked it on the mini-bar in the dark), I traveled on to Bran Castle and Sinaia, before catching the train back to Budapest. My journey started at five in the morning, and I was dozing when my train stopped in Sibiu to pick up passengers. Two guys in their twenties entered my seat compartment and promptly fell asleep. I offered one of them my jacket to use as a pillow.
A few hours later, we all stirred and started talking. Soma, of Budapest, and Mateuz, of Krakow, were actors with The Voyage Project, who had just performed at the International Theater Festival. Though I hadn’t seen their performance, I had met their director during my earlier stay, and we all spoke animatedly about the wonderful ten-day event. As time went on, Soma and I slipped into the, now-familiar, symptoms of an InterGalactic Friendship and we began to talk about our lives and background. Mateuz fell back asleep, but as he listened to us, he realized that we were actually experiencing the realities expressed in a poem that someone had handed him during the Festival. He dug the folded white sheet of paper out of his backpack and asked me to read it aloud to them.
Apologies to the author, whose name is not on the page. I am copying this from the original which Mateuz insisted that I keep. Whoever wrote this, though, knew the phenomenon first-hand. Whoever passed this on to Mateuz, perhaps was telling him of their mystical connection; but could never know that he would find a new application for it so rapidly. And now, because of this blog and the topic I’m sharing about the lovely, mysterious, momentary brush of two celestial bodies, I can pass it on to you – who may also have a need for it.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
They’re both convinced that a sudden passion joined them. Such certainty is beautiful, but uncertainty is more beautiful still.
Since they’d never met before, they’re sure that there’d been nothing between them. But what’s the word from the streets, staircases, hallways – perhaps they’ve passed by each other a million times?
I want to ask them if they don’t remember – a moment face to face in some revolving door? Perhaps a “sorry” muttered in a crowd? A curt “wrong number” caught in the receiver? But I know the answer. No, they don’t remember.
They’d be amazed to hear that Chance has been toying with them now for years.
Not quite ready yet to become their Destiny, it pushed them close, drove them apart, it barred their path, stifling a laugh, and then leaped aside.
There were signs and signals, even if they couldn’t read them yet. Perhaps three years ago or just last Tuesday a certain leaf fluttered from one shoulder to another? Something was dropped and then picked up. Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished into childhood’s thicket?
There were doorknobs and doorbells where one touch had covered another beforehand. Suitcases checked and standing side by side. One night, perhaps, the same dream grown hazy by morning.
Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.
Wow! As I explained the symptoms of an InterGalactic Friendship, we all sat mystified at the way it works. And for a witness to silently understand and “just so happen” to have some poetic words to cover it, was just mind-boggling. Though we humans usually think only in terms of romance and the ultimate pairing off of two people who are destined to “be together,” this IGF business is far more innocent than that. It can happen in the oddest combinations and probably almost never leads to a relationship that even exists beyond the original moments.
Sincere goodbyes at the train station in the Hungarian capital closed that chapter, though the memory and photographs remain in my journal volume, open beside me now. After all, the book of events is always halfway open.
Continuing the theme of what has probably been labeled, “Love At First Sight,” by most people, down through the ages, simply for lack of a better term for it, I shall give more examples of InterGalactic Friendship mentioned in the previous blog.
It is something like love at first sight; but it isn’t necessarily all that heavy, and weighted down with destiny as such a phrase implies.
In my experience, that phrase limits the phenomenon severely, because it usually doesn’t (conveniently) strike only those who are free of obligations and available for taking up a whirlwind romance with an attractive stranger. It almost always hits when you have a full plate. And, it can be most inconvenient, unless you have a handle on what is going on. Very possibly, two people, who suddenly feel this way, once did have a deep relationship — in a past life with each other… and neither has forgotten that connection on a cellular level. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are destined to spend this life together. Perhaps this interesting stranger is a “walk-on” in your present stage play.
These powerful “Love At First Sighters” are called InterGalactic Friends in my book. That would explain what happened to Wallis Simpson and King Edward of England. All that abdication and divorce might not have been really necessary, if they had only known what was really going on. That said, I think it’s the lucky ones who can pull off a marriage with one of these mythical beings whom they have known and loved before.
Let me share with you a journal entry that I wrote in 2001, right after I spotted an InterGalactic Friend in the grocery store, but didn’t meet him. Written down the next morning, while the experience was fresh, it’s a good report on how this kind of thing feels. I have no idea who he was and never laid eyes on him again. At the time, I had experienced this a few times, but had no concept of what it was.
“December 11, 2001 – Guess what? I saw a most beautiful man yesterday and followed him around City Market, just to look at him! I didn’t think I would ever see any man again who appealed to me. I look at them, but they all fall so far short, that I had just stopped thinking in terms of ever noticing a guy again. This one even spoke to me as I was entering the store. Maybe I wouldn’t have picked up on his presence if he hadn’t greeted me. Aspen is full of “beautiful people” during the ski season, most of whom don’t do a thing for me. But, he was at the door when I came through it, and he said, “Good-looking jacket!” to me, complimenting me on the old brown suede jacket, with the fur-rimmed hood, that I was wearing. I replied, “It’s good and warm.” and went to get a basket. Well, what would you have said? I was scrounging around for something more witty, but it just didn’t happen. I’m not really in practice for picking up guys in grocery stores. Or cooperating with being picked up… though I wish I had been in this case.
But, I was saying, “Wow!” all the way into the store. He was slender and had the nicest slim face and his hair was white but hung forward in a straight shock over his forehead. He, himself, looked young and boyish, but he was, at the same time, in my age-range. Boy! Did I ever want to get to know him!!! I just peeked at him a lot as we shopped through the mutual aisles. We sort of followed each other around and I had the sense that he was doing the same sort of peeking. We wound up in the checkout line together and I got so flustered that I left a bag of groceries behind.
He was the sort of guy that I would trust with my life, immediately; whom I would marry, instantly, if he had asked me, right there in City Market. I’m just as much a sucker as I ever was, for the right-looking man. I went out in a daze.
Did we mutually affect each other like that? I can’t see how it could be otherwise. We must have known each other on other planes of existence, in other times, because the reaction was instantaneous. If only that could happen to me in some situation where we could really meet and really talk, and which would throw us together for awhile. I think he did pretty well, to think of something to say. That old jacket really isn’t at all spectacular, especially here in the land of truly good-looking ski jackets. No one has commented on this one before. Wish I could have been as original, tossing out a comeback that someone could build a conversation on.
“What, this old thing? I’ve just worn it on a long trek through the Himalayas. See, here’s a little yak butter still on the sleeve.” Now, that would have had possibilities.”
If such a thing has ever happened to you, don’t just chalk it up to your wandering eye. More than likely, you have just recognized an Old Friend… whom you absolutely know you have never met in this life. But you do know them! And you do remember them! And you’ve just passed another Cosmic Test… halfway. You never got to say Hello, down here; or report in and hear their report to you. But you did salute them, somehow.
Your two ships will steam on through the night, in opposite directions, without even the acknowledgment of a few good whistle blasts. Ah well, what can be done?
Note to the comment on my last blog: Bob Lowhorn, is that you? Class of ’55? I’m still giggling over your absolutely logical comment. Yes, my dear… but you didn’t even take into account that I might be the oldest one, and he, the youngster. It was in New York, in my sixty-something salad days, (actually, I was 60) and he was in his early twenties. (actually 24) (so, actually, only a 36-year-difference) But, I shall now look forward to testing the theory on that 110 year-old that you mention. IGFs are different from the rest!