Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Degrees of separation

Last week I had coffee with Michelle, a writer I just met, who happens to be someone with whom I have been otherwise unknowingly associated with for the past few years. Though she has not yet been published with the company I work for, we distribute her other published books to customers in the US. Further to that, her husband is an architect at a firm that Scott nearly took a position with last year, and also a friend of the principal designer at Meade Design Group which, incidently, I am doing contract work for right now. Even stranger, they lived in Boston during the same time period Scott lived there, and in Halifax during the same years I was attending Dalhousie University. They lived two blocks from my apartment. One of my instructors was their landlord. I finally met her at Ivan's studio opening party a few weeks ago and introduced myself.

Anyway, all these coincidences are not really the point of this post. It's the story of this writer's and this architect's meeting that had me dumbstruck.
When she was fourteen and living in Vancouver, she placed a classified ad in the international section of a newspaper. She wrote that she was looking for a pen-pal, someone to swap letters with about books, geography and any other matter of international conversation.
Somewhere in Argentina, a 17-year-old boy was scouring the classified ads for a second-hand drafting table. He happened to notice the pen-pal seeker's ad and decided to respond.
They never met in person until nine years of letter writing had elapsed. Nine years!
Then at 26, he had business in Chicago (and if you're going to Chicago, you might as well swing by Vancouver) and their first meeting was arranged. Since then, there have been brief periods of separation; once while Michelle was cycling across Canada and he was out of touch in the jungles of Bolivia and they had to phone her father to receive updates on each other's adventures (who may as well have been carrying out a stint on the Space Station, judging by all the astonishing footnotes in this tale).
And well, you know how it all eventually ends; a proposal, a wedding, a marriage.

Theirs is a story of soulmates if there ever was one. Which makes me think of my rope ladder, but I'll save that post for another day....

1 comment:

Vancouver realtor said...

We all know it, papermouse, and you're the one of many who reminded us of this fact. Life is full of exciting surprises as well as falls and sad happenings. Speaking from my own experience, people (soulmates, best friends, pen friends, etc.) are for me the most important value in my life, or to be more precise, they were for some time. I met a lot of people this way, from many of whom I'm still in contact with. Perhaps without them I woudn't be there where I am now, working as a Vancouver realtor and I'm happy I have a job that I enjoy and I have enough money to pay my living. But hey, this story would be a great scenario for some love comedy with a sweet happy ending. :P Indeed, it would. With greets,
Jay