Life is made up of choices. It’s made up of monumental intersections and sometimes just small little forks, but each turn in the road is significant in life’s course. But don’t look for a map to show you the way. Life is a river and the map is ever changing and time doesn’t stand still long enough for consultation.
I’ve often thought of life’s forks. How different my life would be if I hadn’t moved to Paris after college to be an English Assistant for a year and if my friend, Mimi, hadn’t encouraged me to stay a bit longer to work at Hard Rock Cafe for the summer. I would never have met David. That one simple decision sent my life careening down an entirely different path. And what would have happened if we had decided to stay in California and David had continued with his catering business there? Our whole NYC chapter and all the friends we’ve made there would have been erased from our lives. And what if David’s dad hadn’t announced that he was opening a restaurant just at the same time as our two layoffs? Perhaps we wouldn’t have had the courage to hop continents and start a new life in Europe.
Since I’ve been in Spain, I’ve had front row seats to the different possible paths that David’s life could have taken, and I’ve realized what a miracle it is that we ended up together and how slim the chance that we would ever meet at all really was. There were so many girls along the way, but there were three especially who could have drastically changed David’s life and, consequently, mine as well.
There is Marissa who we ran in to one evening while hanging out at David’s dad’s restaurant. She is married and has two kids now. David had a crush on her when he was little, but she didn’t feel the same. If she had just liked him, in return, David could have been a dad by now, meaning that David’s mom would have been a grandmother and peace would fall on Earth.
There is Sole who works in the kitchen of her family’s bar in the village where David’s aunt and uncle live. The bar has been around forever and is a true family business. Sole’s father and mother run it, her brother works in the front and she works in the back. And David had the chance to be part of it all, if he had just married her. Poor Sole was so unattractive growing up that her dad felt that he had to add an extra incentive into the marriage package and made it clear that whoever married his daughter would automatically enter into this prosperous family business. Sadly, no one, to this day, has been tempted enough by the offer, and she remains unwed working in the family business. But if David had just said yes, he would have had a VIP pass straight into a successful business and his entrepreneurial drive would have been satisfied.
And finally there is Raquel. We ran into her and her family at David’s dad’s restaurant. And even though David didn’t recognize her and her family at first, they clearly remembered him. Calling him over, they reminded him of how he and Raquel used to play together at the age of three. She used to pretend to be Luisa, David’s mom, while David used to pretend to be his father. Apparently, this fun playmate was significant in David’s life because even later when we were telling Luisa about how we saw Raquel, she remembered her immediately and, to this day, still has a picture of the two of them side by side – at the age of three. Well, Raquel must have been cute at three because, at 31, she is gorgeous. If David had just continued to play that game a bit longer, he could now be with a Spanish-speaking top model.
But he didn’t end up with Marissa, Sole or Raquel. He ended up with me. I haven’t given him kids, I don’t have a family business, and I’m not a top model. But even after we revisited the girls of David’s past, he assured me that he wouldn’t have chosen to be with anyone other than me. Knowing how much he would like to have kids, how much he would love to be part of a successful family business and how beautiful Raquel is, I took that as a real compliment.
It’s hard to know if we’re where we should be. Now that David’s dad’s restaurant, the main instigator in getting us over here, is closed, I wonder if Spain was the right path to take. But when I look back and see all that David and I have done and the places we’ve lived and the experiences we’ve had, I feel happy and extremely lucky in my life. I don’t know where this fork leads, I don’t know what lies at the end of this path, but I trust that, somehow, we’re right on course. And I look forward – to what the future holds.