I guide my grocery cart away from the checkout stand at The Purity. I greet a friend standing at the onion bins. A middle aged woman with dark auburn hair, stylish makeup and a Guatemalan shoulder bag enters the store and collects a cart.
As she passes, she gives me a shining smile and direct eye contact. I smile back, thinking I might know her, but realize I do not. She takes a few steps toward the first aisle before whipping a U-turn and nearly colliding her cart with mine.
She’s excited, like a racehorse anxious to be released from the starting gate. I suspect something interesting is about to happen.
“We were meant to meet,” she says in a conspiratorial tone, her face beaming.
“Really?” I say.
“Yes.” She’s nearly breathless. “I saw you walking your dog yesterday. Then today, my husband drove me to the store and we pulled up next to a car and I saw your dog and I said to him, ‘There’s that woman’s dog! She must be in the store!’ And here you are!”
“Wow.” I feel like a celebrity.
She leans in closer, a little too close. “Have you ever read The Celestine Prophecy?”
I’ve read a lot of stuff over the years. I search my memory banks. “No.”
“It says that if two people continue to encounter one another, they either share a past life or have something in this life they are destined to learn from each other.”
“Don’t you see? I saw you yesterday and then again today. We were meant to meet.”
No one has ever been so excited to see me. “May I ask your name?”
“Lauren Conroy [not her real name]. I live on the corner of Lincoln and Whipple [not her real address].”
I hold out my hand. “Nice to meet you.”
She shakes my hand. “And what’s your name?”
“Kate.” I deliberately skip my last name and Google Map location.
She looks astonished. “Kate is the name I give when I make orders to go! You know like when you place a sandwich order at a deli counter?”
“I give the name Kate!” Her dark brown eyes glisten.
As farfetched as I find this encounter, the fake name for take-out orders doesn’t faze me. For years, my Starbucks name has been Hazel. I receive many compliments on it.
“It’s so nice to meet you, Lauren. Thank you for stopping to introduce yourself.” I walk away, but not before noticing her expression drop into disappointment.
“Hopefully we’ll see each other again,” she calls after me.
I assume she’s a recent transplant. We live in a small town. She hasn’t learned that the chances of repeated people sightings are approximately 99.9%.
Lucy and I will have to start wearing hats and dark glasses on our daily walks.
Nice to know that the stalkers in Fort Bragg are friendly and quirky, too. She’ll fit right in. 🙂
I had this happen recently. I was having a down week (you know the details) and in one drive, I encountered four people I hadn’t seen in a decade. Four. And I live in a slightly bigger town, Seattle. It was a phenomenal boost. In one drive, I felt how far-reaching our impact is over time, even if we live slightly smaller than say the Kardashians. 🙂
Maybe that stranger was meant to show you that Lucy has become your welcome mat: your announcement to the world that you are open to saying hello and making a new friend. Maybe by just walking through town with Ms. Lucy, you are just what people need.
Random encounters with those we know and strangers are always interesting experiences. Lucy’s totally on board with being just what people need. Unless they’re wearing a baseball cap and dark glasses. Or are riding a skateboard.
I am surprised you haven’t read Celestine Prophecy. It was popular 25 years ago. Great read. I am sure you and Lucy are popular in FB. Take care.
Our popularity makes up for my being completely unpopular in high school.
You should wear Fascinators…Lucy would look good in one. When I moved here in ’68 I was riding down the street with a woman who had all kinds of people waving at her. Comin from SOCAL, I was amazed and asked, “do you know everybody in town?” Said she, “wait till you live here for awhile, you’ll see.” Yep, she was right…At least your stalker has bright, shiny eyes!
Like all of us transplants, we fairly quickly make friends and encountering one of them wherever we go is such a treat.
This had me laughing out loud! Bless her little pea-pickin’ heart for being so enthusiastic over getting to meet you and Lucy. Reminds me of why, when in a hurry, I look down the aisles at the grocery store before proceeding — just in case there’s someone I know and don’t have time to stop and chat! 🙂
A quick trip to the store can sometimes take an hour!
I read the Celestine Prophecy as well, and still trying to find my tie in with this life? Maybe I was long destined to read this article! And I too, give the go order name “Kate” ! ( Although I am definitely rethinking that after seeing your ” Hazel ” got such compliments! p.s. Just keep writing..just keep writing
Love you Kate. I give you permission to use Hazel any time you want!