"So thoughtlessly we swing on our destinies." (Leif Enger)

I wasn't even supposed to work on Friday.

I had tried to get the day off, to go to Presbytery in Indy and work on China sorts of things.  But it hadn't worked out, so I was at Crumble after all.  Like so many days.  And like so many days, I was running around between the espresso machine and the dishwashing sink and the register, and I looked up and glanced out the window.

And totally disbelieved my eyes.  People who are studying in Germany for a year don't suddenly appear out in the piazza, casually smoking a cigarette, as if they had all the time in the world.

please note, the guy in the piazza did not have a sparkler in his mouth.  I think I would have had no doubts then.

Must be a look-alike, I thought.  After all, there are other white guys in Bloomington who wear plaid and a backpack and are just a few inches taller than I am.  And I proceeded to forget about it.  Until a few minutes later when I looked up and the guy was still out there, still smoking, still looking exasperatingly, exactly like my friend Tyler.

But I knew better.

I got Laura's attention.  "That guy out there -- he looks like Tyler, doesn't he?"

"Yeah," she agreed, surprised, "but Tyler's in Germany."

Exactly.  We all knew it.  Still.

"I'll be back in a minute," I said, because we were slow and Laura and Steph were both working too and... although I knew that Tyler was in Germany... what I could see seemed to contradict what I knew.  So I walked out, into the frigid February air, not bothering to pull a coat on over my t-shirt.  Trying, futilely, to look as if I was just... doing inconspicuous, normal things.

In my t-shirt.

I think it's basically impossible to look casual when you're just wild with curiosity.

I waved at a regular who was walking through and kept sneaking glances at the Tyler doppelg√§nger out of the corner of my eye.  And he turned to look at me and all of my former certainty crumbled and shattered, doubts flooding me.

No way.

No way.

"Hey," he said, and I responded with something eloquent like, "....what on earth are you doing here?" and felt myself an instant away from breaking down in tears.  We hugged instead.  I hadn't realized how much I missed him until then, until my arms were tight around him and the scents of cigarette smoke and patchouli were clinging to my clothes.

And my heart was thoroughly overwhelmed with joy.  As much as I utterly hate saying goodbyes to friends, it is balanced, I think, by the glorious joy of reunions.

The whole thing was a most excellent reminder to me that God knows what I need, and what is good, far better than I do.  I hadn't wanted to be in Bloomington that day -- but I am so, so very thankful that I was.

And it makes me look forward to the joy that is to come, when none of us will have to say, "But I don't want to go away again, I don't want to say goodbye..."



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