What is magic to me?
That was the question I was given.
Serendipity, I think.
A Skype call on a Saturday with my friend David, who’s suffered a memory loss recently. We start talking about odds and ends catching up, how to get a good design for a business card, something I have been waffling over for a few months. Out of the corner of my eye, I see David’s card; it’s distinctive with a dark black musical clef on grey-blue paper. It’s sitting in my silver slotted holder that I place paperwork in on my desk that I am not ready to hide away yet. His card is the first thing in the front row; I don’t remember it being there yesterday. I can’t believe that it is there just as we are talking about business cards, I haven’t seen his card in over a year. I would bet money on that.
I pick it up smiling and hold it in front of my iPad so he can see it- David’s in London, and it is late in the evening in his part of the world.
“Like this one?” I ask
He looks at it and asks, “What’s that?”
“It’s your business card that you gave me when we first met in January two years ago,” I reply.
David starts laughing as he grabs his head with his two hands.
“Really?” “I don’t recognize it.” He continues to laugh shaking his head. “That is too funny,” I’m laughing too.
Too funny is right. I smile so tickled by the fact that the card showed up where it needed to be for me to see it and share it with him. To let his memory get it. I can feel his brain processing, downloading the information, letting him connect the dots so he can get the present to pull in memories from the past without overloading his brain.
“I’m going to take a photo of your card and send it to you now, so you have it.” My phone makes a distinctive “click,” then I hear the satisfying “swoosh” of the email being sent.
Our conversation rambles on and he starts to tell me about a custom he heard about from a friend.
“In Montenegro, there is an old belief that if you can find nine stars on nine consecutive nights, your soulmate will be revealed to you. A friend shared this, and I committed to doing it. London isn’t known for its clear night skies but I was determined, I committed, I am going to do this.
Some nights I would jog up to the heath, sometimes I would walk- it was definitely in all seasons. On this night it’s been the first time I’ve gotten eight nights in a row so this evening would make it the 9th. I get myself up to Hampstead Heath; it’s late and very overcast. I sit on this one bench, then stand, then sit again and honestly prayed, willing the sky to clear. I just couldn’t leave, I was so close. I look up, and for a few seconds, the clouds part and I quickly count 5, 6, 7, 8, 9!
I’ve got my 9! Yes!
I tell this to a friend of mine, and she exclaims “You looked at 4,000 stars probably over those eight years just to see 9 in 9 consecutive days! That’s crazy.” She was wrong about the time I think it was two years.”
As he’s telling me this, I think, that’s faith, that’s love, that’s believing. I loved his story, and I get engrossed in it – seeing him in my mind out late trudging up a step street dragging himself up to the heath to get his stars- his commitment- how dark it must have been, how cold and windy. How many times did he go? How many times did he abandon his mission? And recommit? How many times did he have to start over? I want to know, but I also don’t.
It doesn’t honestly matter to me; I love the idea of it. The beauty of the commitment, the desire to believe, the choice to have an adventure and see where it takes you, as a songwriter and musician the night treks must have given him so much material to draw from, so many sensations to gather up and weave together. Our conversation moves on; we talk about other things. After the call, I realize that I didn’t ask David if the wish came true. Did his soulmate materialize?
And I smile realizing that wasn’t the point, that wasn’t what made it magical.