Have you ever felt like you’re a character in a movie and that the movie is your life? You don’t know you’re the actor but there is an audience somewhere watching you for their entertainment and a director carefully choreographing scenes that just seem like life that’s unfolding randomly. It happens to me often – call me paranoid – but never did it feel more real than on one afternoon in my high school days.Back then I had found my first crush, Carol. She was blonde, pretty and witty with a great singing talent to boot. We’d fallen in love during school play rehearsals in which we both sang solos. I’d fallen more for her naughty, unconventional streak and her contagious energy than for her big blue eyes. She was my first love and my first kiss. Then a succession of circumstances led us to break up, more because of parental and peer concerns than on account of us no longer being attracted to each other. I was heartbroken for a while but eventually recovered to the point where I began to show interest in other girls again. One of these was the daughter of a politician (father) and a local music icon (mother). She had her mother’s good looks and her father’s ambition. She was three years younger than me, but mature for her age – though she still had the body of a girl (I think this is still the case today as she was always an avid calorie counter). Anyway, we started dating. She was extremely frigid compared to my first love (it took two months of dating before I even got a tentative kiss!). On some level I was missing my ex even though I was properly infatuated with my present girlfriend. What follows is the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced.
I habitually called my current girlfriend’s house number to speak to her (this was just before the time of ubiquitous cellphones). Usually I’d have to go through her much older brother who would holler to her (in response to my polite greetings) “Michelle*, there’s some faggot on the phone for you!”. This made me somewhat nervous to call her home. Perhaps it caused my hands to tremble a little. On the fateful day I had had my ex girlfriend, Carol*, on my mind since mid-morning and I was playing make believe scenarios in my head about what I would do if faced with a choice of having either my ex or my present girlfriend. That particular day I was leaning towards my ex. Her playfulness and childish curiosity contrasted sharply with my present girlfriend’s icy control of all elements of her life. Michelle was certainly more beautiful in the conventional sense but she didn’t have the artistic lust for life that made Carol so attractive. Both girls lived in about a 20 kilometer radius from my house and there must have been similarities in their dialing codes (though I was too freaked out to check this after the great coincidence took place). My intention was to phone my current girlfriend’s house. I dialed the numbers from my little phone book and listened to the ringtone hoping to God it wasn’t her brother who answered. Relief embraced me when I heard the sweet teenage girl’s voice on the other side saying hello. Hi, I said, how are you? I’m well she replied who is this? It’s me, Newoutsider …of course, I said. Her voice had sounded funny yet familiar. The next moment I heard the semi-hysterical giggling of teenage girls as the phone was handed to another girl. Can I speak to Michelle again I asked. The girl was amused. You’ve been speaking to Carol (my ex!). Carol came back on the line. What the fuck is happening I exclaimed, I didn’t dial your number. No you didn’t, she said, I was walking past a public payphone near my house and it started ringing so I answered it. What are the odds of this happening? I must’ve dialed a wrong digit or two that got me to the payphone number, but what are the chances that the girl I was thinking about while I was trying to reach my current girlfriend would be walking past at that exact moment, and actually pick up a random payphone when it rings? With a sense of awe I confessed that I was trying to get hold of Michelle. Carol also felt it. Was this not something more than coincidence? Did the Director have a plan for us?
We never got back together and my relationship with Michelle fizzled out after another couple of months but I am still in contact with Carol and we share a special bond to this day.
*Not real names