Let's take a moment to ponder this series of coincidences:
Before last night, I had never heard the name Graciela. During dinner, my friend told me about a new woman she met named Graciela while she was traveling in Japan. When I got home, I printed out a contact list for some volunteer work that I'm doing. Last name on the list? Graciela.
Two days ago, we were passing by a series of houses in my parent's neighbourhood. As we passed each one, I pointed at it and told my husband who had lived in each house when I was little. We passed by the house of a boy who was in my nursery school class--my first love. I have harboured a grudge against my nursery school teacher for 28 years because on the last Shabbat, she sat me next to Poison Oak Boy instead of my love, Danny (whom I called "Benny" because I liked the name Benny better than Danny. And Danny never conveyed any annoyance over being called Benny instead of Danny). "She knew this," I told my husband as we passed his old house. "She knew I loved him and she sat me next to Poison Oak Boy."
I am still not over it.
Last night, as I was meeting my friend for dinner--the friend who would tell me about Graciela--I paused in my parking spot to write myself a note. As I moved to open my door, a car pulled into the empty space next to mine and I waited for her car to stop. I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be funny if it were the friend I'm meeting for dinner; choosing the parking spot right next to mine in this huge lot simply by chance."
It was an old friend from nursery school--one that I haven't seen in over six years since we lived in the same apartment building before we each were married.
We got out of the car and I told her about how I had been speaking about Danny the day before to my husband. And how it was a strange coincidence to bump into another classmate from that small nursery school class 28 years later. She asked what had happened to me in the last 6 or so years since we had last seen each other. We had both gotten married and changed our last names. I had the twins. She didn't have any children yet. She asked if the twins were identical or fraternal. She said, "oh, it must have happened quickly for you!" I pointed out that over 6 years had passed since we had seen each other. The twins were now 2. It hadn't been that quick.
My laydar buzzed a bit in the back of my head. Oh...you know...laydar? That sixth sense stirrup queens have for figuring out when someone else is a stirrup queen before they say anything? That familiar feeling of knowing that for both women, a good lay brings nothing your way.
We walked into the restaurant together and looked for my friend. She offered to wait with me until my friend arrived. She asked what I was currently writing. I told her that I do freelance work for magazines and I'm working on a non-fiction book. "What sort of subject?" she asked. "Infertility," I answered.
"From your own experience?" she asked hopefully.
"Sure; the kids are fertility treatment twins."
And that's how I learned about her own diagnosis, the start of her first IVF cycle, and how her SIL just told her about her second pregnancy as my friend was telling her SIL about starting treatments.
We go to the same clinic. We have the same doctor in this large clinic. We both have high FSH.
I had been at home, working on the Diagnosis Blilt (oh--side note--send in your words for your square by tomorrow night. I have 35 squares created so far on kicky quilty-looking virtual fabrics. And we haven't had any repeats--every thought is unique. Isn't that incredible? 35 unique reactions to the same news. I'm going to post this first blilt when it's finished on Thursday.) and then I go out to dinner to bump into an old friend with a new diagnosis.
Two girls in a class with perhaps eight girls total end up at the same clinic. What did the teacher put in our grape juice? Or is it all just a coincidence?
In Jasper Fforde's novel, Lost in a Good Book, the main character is being "killed by coincidence." When she asks her uncle what he thinks about coincidences, he says he believes that "most coincidences are simply quirks of chance...[but] the universe always moves from an ordered state to a disordered one; that a glass may fall to the ground and shatter yet you never see a broken glass reassemble itself and then jump back onto the table."
What does that explanation have to do with the conjunction of Graciela-infertility-nursery school coincidences?
Because I marked the page about coincidences in that book when I read it 4 years ago.
What a coincidence that I had some foresight to mark that page for easy retrieval as I write a blog entry about the coincidences of the past three days.
What do you do with coincidences? It seems a shame to ignore them. It seems a little far-fetched to believe these things fall into place randomly and a little far-fetched to believe these things are predestined. It's sort of like a dream that sticks with you--you don't want to overlook it and, at the same time, you know it's probably just your mind finding connections in unconnected spaces. But if the glass can break, why can't the glass unbreak? And if these are simple quirks of chance, why do they make you feel as if someone is jerking your head upward and making you see the bigger picture?