I first spoke to the woman I was to marry forty years ago tonight. I had seen her but hadn't worked up the nerve to speak to her a few weeks earlier but I already knew I would marry her (to this day, I have no idea how I was so smart. But I was).
I had been in (West) Germany only about two months, arriving shortly before Halloween, which, back in the day, wasn't a holiday of any kind in Germany at all. It was strictly a Yank Prank like Thanksgiving only harder to explain to people who weren't American.
Chris and I had started out drinking and feeling sorry for ourselves, me in the lead, (for being stuck in Germany for the holidays) earlier in the day in the Frankfurt am Main party district, Sachsenhausen, where millions of people, swarming like flies, made the passage from anywhere to anywhere else almost impossible.
Eventually, though I have no recollection how, we were to be more in mid-town, down the street from CBS Germany (though we didn't know that at the time) near Eschenheimer Tor. Because I'm relentlessly competitive, I got much drunker much faster than everyone around us and Chris had his hands full and a good job looking out for me since once I get my drunk on I'm never confused with Mr. Congeniality. Amazing I lived long enough to discover sobriety in light of the armies of people around the world I antagonized. Anyway.
In the decades since all of this happened, I've tried to calculate the number of actions and activities that had to take place in order for her and me to meet. Since I chose to be a liberal arts major to avoid ever using math in my life, I cannot possibly execute the calculations.
I've long since given up trying to make sense of the world as it was or as it is. I will tell you I believe because that's how I was raised and habit is often more lasting than logic, that there is a reason for everything we do and everything we fail to do. As attractive as I find the 'we're all hostages from Hades/We're all bozos on this bus' approach to questions about divinity, humanity and the universe at large, I can't really leave it there.
If Christmas is a time of love, and this is the night when I found mine, how can I not encourage you to be of good cheer and renew your faith even if you've yet to meet the person who completes you? A more luckless, lunchless, loser than I could you not have imagined, but a miracle was still mine. Keep your eyes wide and your heart open, there's magic in the air, if you want it. Happy Christmas.