A few years ago, I blogged about how some of my friends are connected to each other in bizarre, coincidental ways. I had a similar experience last night that made my head spin. I've written about how I met my husband, Monkeyrotica, through a personals ad, but not about why I was looking at personals ads in the first place. That's a tale that I was reminded of last night while I found myself face-to-face with the wife of my ex-boyfriend. Here's that story, from the very beginning.
I first met Andy when I was home for the summer after my freshman year of college. I was in a new place, didn't know anyone, so I was hanging out with my sister and her high school pals. He was nearby with a group of friends not in their clique; I have no memory of why we started talking, but we did and exchanged phone numbers. We had similar taste in music and in movies, but that's as far as it went. He was crazy for antique cars, performed in karate competitions, and talked up his experiences as the star of his HS distance cycling team. He was charming, charismatic, and came from new money; his father had built a local empire and his son got the spoils. There were certain personality issues that made it a summer romance and not a long-term one, in my mind: he was extremely anti-social, for one thing. He discouraged hanging out with his friends (bunch of "jerks") and had no interest in meeting the few I had—didn't want to "share me" on our dates. He never introduced me to his parents (we entered through his "wing" of his house without disturbing anyone) and when he came to take me on a date, he would honk from the driveway rather than make small talk with mine. This drove my parents to dislike him intensely.
Anyway, when I left for college after break I'd forget about him while busy with academics; when I returned for the summer he would start phoning again. I'd ignore his calls for a while, but once the boredom set in, I'd call back and we'd start up again. After I graduated from college and came home to stay, he was elated at first. He excitedly talked about having more time with me and started planning for a relationship. I played along for a little while, but really knew it was going nowhere—we had too little in common. My dad started taking an interest, negatively, and I found pages of personals ads left on the dining table after I came home from dates, with red circles drawn on good prospects. After a "disagreement" between Andy and me, I picked up the personals and seriously considered them. I chose Monkeyrotica's ad—not one that my dad had circled. I listened to the message on his phone box (pre-Internet in 1992) phoned and left my own.
Back to today: twenty years later, Monkey and I are about to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary and have two lovely children. Yesterday, I was out with Dash, the adorable six-year-old, at his karate practice. There was one other mom also watching her son and between poking on our iPhones, we started chatting. Her son was one of the two Jacks—the light-haired one, not the dark-haired one—an eight-year-old with a yellow belt. We'd smile at each other when one of our kids screwed up and got yelled at by the sensei. I learned Jack was an only child, but was born in the same year/month as Rosie, my gorgeous and talented older child. She lived nearby and had been in the DC area for a while, but was from Connecticut (where my family is originally from).
Our sons were paired up to spar together and I heard the sensei call out Jack's last name. Same as Andy's. I hadn't thought of him in forever, but my brain made the connection anyway. I asked, "Is there an Andrew in your family?"
"My husband," she answered. I followed up with questions about his family in case there was more than one person with that name in town, got affirmatives to all. I must have been noticeably freaking out, because she asked me, "Are you having a 'moment'?" I looked at her more closely, noticing her brown hair, brown eyes and that she was the same height and complexion as me.
I can't keep my mouth shut sometimes. I told her I used to date her husband. I asked when they first met and found that it was about 6 months after Andy and I broke up. She was my rebound? They married five years later, in the same month and year that Monkey and I were married.
Okay, so for those who are keeping track of coincidences here:
1. we both met our spouses within 6 months of breaking it off.
2. we were married the same month and year.
3. our oldest children were born the same month and year.
4. she is the same height, and has the same complexion, hair and eye color as me.
5. she and I are both originally from Connecticut, but settled in the DC area after living in other cities.
Inevitably, Andy and I are bound to cross paths at the karate studio. Perhaps we have already and I had no clue, without any context. I'm not looking forward to it, to tell the truth. I have no idea what I'd say as we didn't split on friendly terms. I needed to document this story, though—coincidences are very intriguing to me. Is there a reason that our paths are crossing again after all this time?