by Mallory Quinn
“A happy meeting”
Terrence Grandchester was young British business man living in New York. It was the holiday season, in fact, five days before Christmas. It was snowing on New York City; the stores were open late and shopping malls were full of people. He was alone without his driver who had dropped him off earlier. He was waiting for him to call him so he could come and pick him up. He found himself in front of Bloomingdale’s the big and famous department store, which was packed. People were doing their last minutes Christmas shopping. He went to where they were selling gloves and scarves…
A young blond woman with freckles on her nose and big green eyes. She was in New York for a few days, she wanted to buy a pair of gloves in cashmere as a souvenir from her visit to New York… She had to leave for Chicago the next morning to get back to her perfectly planned life. For her everything happened for a reason in life: everything was predestined… So she got into the famous Bloomingdale’s big department store and she went to the gloves and scarves sections for winter accessories. She looked around and she saw gloves of different colors , she wanted some black ones and there was none. She saw an employee arrive with a pair of black gloves in cashmere. She ran so she wouldn’t. She got in front of the counter and she reached out to take the pair of black cashmere gloves… She took it and she turned around to leave…
Terrence wanted a pair of black gloves for his girlfriend, he was disappointed at first because there wasn’t any black one, but he saw the employee arriving with a pair of black glove. He rushed so he wouldn’t miss it, he got to the counter, reached out with his hand to take the last pair of gloves, he turned around to what to the till…
They both did two steps and something pulled them back. They turned around at the same time. They looked at each other… and there was a thunderbolt that our protagonists didn’t hear.
- I’m sorry, said Terrence.
- I’m sorry, said the young woman.
- You can have it, said Terrence.
- No, you go ahead, said the young woman.
- Let’s go ask if they have another one, said Terrence looking.
There was an employee behind the counter. He talked to her.
- Excuse-me, Miss, excuse-me, do you have another pair of black gloves?
The employee, very busy during the holidays, answered without even raising her head:
- Everything we have is on the counter…
- You don’t have anymore in stock? Asked the young woman.
- Or in the basement? Asked Terrence
- No, said the employee turning around to look at him and we don’t have any in the attic either, she added while leaving.
Terrence and the young woman looked at each other.
- You can have them, he said, I don’t really need them
- O, you saw them before me, said the young woman, take them
- I insist, said Terrence, wait, I’m going to put them back, there.
He put the pair of gloves back on the hook…
- Take them now, he told the young girl
But an older man arrived to take them…
- No, excuse-me sir, this pair of gloves is ours, said Terrence showing the young woman
- These are your gloves? Really? But they were on the hook, sleeping with the other, with their price tag on…
- We were discussing who was going to buy them…
- Well, I’ve got news for you, said the old man, you can go discuss it outside while I go and pay for them!
- Calm down, sir, said Terrence, calm down…
- You want me to calm down? It’s 5 days before Christmas and I’m in a big department store in New York and he’s asking me to calm down! Said the old man to the young woman.
- You see, said Terrence, these gloves are destined to be a very beautiful present for someone very special.
- Yes, very important, said the young woman, we thought about it a lot…
- Really? Said the old man, who are they for?
- My boyfriend, said the young woman.
- My girlfriend, said Terrence.
They had both talked at the same time. The old man looked at them one at the both of them, one at the time…
- His girlfriend, said the young girl pointing at Terrence.
- Her boyfriend, said Terrence showing her.
- A pair of gloves for two people? Said the old man
- It’s difficult to explain, said Terrence…
- Go ahead, said the old man, I’m listening…
- Oh, said the young woman, at this moment, he’s my boyfriend…
- But in 18 months…, continued Terrence.
- After the surgery, said the young woman without conviction
- He will be…, said Terrence.
- She will be…, said the young woman.
- My girlfriend! Did you get it? It doesn’t make much sense, doesn’t it?
- No, said the old man giving him the pair of gloves. Merry Christmas anyway!
- Thank you very much, said Terry.
- Now you take them, you deserve them, said Terrence giving her the gloves.
- It was a team worlk, said the young woman smiling
- Yes, indeed…
- I don’t know how to thank you.
She went to pay for thegloves and they both got out of the store together.
- You want to have a cup of coffee with me? Asked Terrence
- All right, she said smiling
They went together to a small pub not too far named “Serendipity”. They sat down at a table and they order iced coffee together. They were talking.
- I don’t know if what you said to that man made sense.
- Well, it scared him and he left… I’m going to pay the bill and I insist, said the young woman, that’s the least I could do.
- Thank you, said Terrence, but now, I have to buy another present for my girlfriend.
- Oh, it was for your girlfriend, said the young woman faking a bad mood, then I can’t accept them…
- Yes, you’re going to accept them, otherwise, you’re not going to pay for the bill!
She burst out laughing.
- This is a very good iced coffee! How did you know about this place? Asked Terrence.
- It’s because of the name “Serendipity”, I like that world…
- I don’t know, I like the meaning, like our meeting… except I don’t believe in chance, everything is planned, predestined, it’s destiny.
- You think so?
- Everything is predestined, we don’t have any choice at all?
- I think we make our own decisions and that destiny gives us little signs which allow us to make choices that determined if we’re happy or not.
- Little signs? Said Terrence smiling.
- Yes, said the young woman smiling back at him.
- Happy accidents, happy discoveries, like Christopher Columbus and America
- I don’t think native Americans would agree with you…
- I suppose not… true.
- Fleming who discovers…
- … penicillin…, the said at the same time.
- Fleming was his name? Asked Terrence
- Yes, she said laughing.
- Or Terrence and the gloves…
- I don’t know that story,said the young woman
- You don’t know that story? It’s a classic story, a popular folkloric legend. Our hero Terrence go to look for a pair of black gloves and by a perfect and unexpected act, serendipidy, he meets a very beautiful and attractive woman who has a boyfriend… you have a boyfriend, don’t you?
- I thought so…
- What about you? The gloves for the lady?
- It was the right moment…
They finished their iced coffee and got out of the pub.
- I hope you’re going to enjoy the gloves you’ve bought.
- Yes, in general, I enjoy what I buy for myself… What do you want for Christmas?
- Golf clubs.
- So, you’re going to go back to your boyfriend now or what?
- No, I think he’s doing what you’re doing…
- Really? He’s having the hots for someone else’s girlfriend?
The young woman had a little laugh.
- No, I’m sorry. I really spent a nice time with you…
She wanted to stop a cab, but she stopped.
- Maybe you should give me your phone number, just in case…
- Just in case of what? Asked the young woman.
- You know, don’t you? In case life… I just spent a great time and I won’t be able to see you again. It’s just not the right moment right now.
They continued walking while talking and they got in front of a yellow cab from New York, that was parked. The young woman wanted to take it. She turned to Terrence.
- Well, if we’re destined to meet again, then we’re going to meet again. It’s simply not the right moment, now.
- Maybe we should meet on GMT time, we’re 5 hours too soon.
The young woman laughed.
- Come on, I don’t even know your name. My name is Terrence. Does that makes you want to say something to me? He said looking at her with eyes full of hope.
The young woman looked at him.
- Yes, she said smiling.
She pulled herself on the tips of her toes and kissed him on the cheek.
- Merry Christmas, she said lasting longer than she planned.
She turned around to open the cab door to get in and she told him:
- And thank you again.
She closed the door and the cab left. He stayed there looking at her go.
“That’s it? “ He asked himself.
He really had lost his touch! How could he not get her phone number of this young woman? Instead of crying on himself, he biped his driver and he walked to the front of the store to wait for him. When he got to his car, he realised that the forgot his scarf at the pub…
- You go ahead Milton, he told his driver, I’ll come back on my own.
- Are you sure, sir?
- Yes, I need some fresh air.
- All right. Good night sir.
- Good night Milton.
So he went back to the pub, “Serendipity” and he went to ask if the hadn’t find a scarf.
- They didn’t bring me anything, said the employee.
- I’m going to go see upstairs, that’s where we were sitting.
- All right…
Terrence went up the stairs and he got to the place where he was sitting earlier with the young woman.
The young woman was in the cab going back home when…
- Darn! I forgot the gloves! Can you stop please, I have to get off, I’m sorry.
The cab stopped, she paid and got out of the car. She went back to pub “Serendipity”. She went to the counter at the til to ask the question.
- Did you find a little back with a pair of black cashmere gloves?
- Can I go look upstairs? That’s where I was sitting…
- Yes, of course…
So the young woman went upstairs and she found the little brown bag from Bloomingdale’s. She also saw a black scarf…
“Terrence forgot his scarf… Is it a sign? If it’s a sign, he will also come and look for h is scarf…” She said to herself.
She took the scarf smiling at what she was thinking.
She heard footsteps and she turned around…. He was there… He was so handsome! He looked at her surprised and she smiled showing him the scarf. He approached her and smiling he said:
- Hi, he said.
- Hi, she said.
She put the scarf around his neck, he had leaned, since he was taller than her.
- Thank you, he said.
- You’re welcome…
- Let’s go do something…
- All right, what do you want to do?
- I don’t care…
- All right, she said, come with me.
She took him by the hand and took her to the ice rink, which was not too far. They rented skates and they went on the ice. They started ice skating while talking.
- So, what are you doing in America? She asked.
- My mother is American…
- Are you visiting your mother?
- No, I live here, but yes,it was to be closer to my mother…
- It’s good to have a family and to stay near it…
- You still won’t tell me your name… Can you answer a few questions?
- Of course…
- Your favourite colour?
- Your favourite flower?
- The white rose…
- Of course, a flower with horns…
- Life is tough buddy! She said smiling
- Your favourite movie?
- “Love affair”
- Your turn…
- What’s your favourite movie?
- “The Hustler”…
- Your favourite moment in New York?
- The present moment is rising really high…
- I’m flattered. “The moment chosen by chance is better than the chosen moment” she said
- An Asian citation on chance?
- This whole evening is due to chance, isn’t it?
- As a matter of fact. Do you have other questions for me? I’m ready to answer all the questions…
- Really? All the questions?
- Yes, I’m not like you! Go ahead! Ask your questions…
They were still skaing; there was not a lot of people. She was skating backwards on the side when she said:
- All right, what’s your favourite sexual position? She dared
He looked at her like he wanted her to be serious. The young woman tripped on something and she fell on the ice falling and lying down. She screamed. He approached her to help her get up.
- All right, it’s also my favourite position too, he said smiling, are you all right? Did you hurt yourself?
- My arm is hurting a little.
- Let me see…
She pulled up her sweater, to her elbow.
- Everything is fine, nothing broken, he said
He looked at her face. The light from the lamp wasn’t very bright…
- Why are you looking at me like that? She asked.
- You have freckles on your nose; he said softly, it’s beautiful.
- They say English girls have lots of freckles… is that why you like mine?
They got out of the ice rank to sit on the bench.
- You’re not English… you have a few freckles on your arm too…
- You like it? Yet they say it’s not a sign of beauty…
- They’re not just freckles. If you look closer, you’ll see Cassiopeia.
- You don’t know? I’m going to tell you about it…
He started tracing lines with his finger on the skin of her arm.
- A very long time ago, there was an Ethiopan queen name Cassiopeia. She was the most beautiful woman in the world and she was very conceited. Everybody had had enough of her vainness. One day she offended the Gods by doing I don’t know what, I don’t remember, but she went too far…
The young woman had a little laugh.
- So she was punished by the gods to be hanging in the sky sitting on her throne, upside down for eternity. She was stuck for eternity upside down, incapable of swallowing without her throat hurting… Now she’s just a constellation in the sky. So your freckles make the shape of her throne are Cassiopeia’s constellation who had made a grave error.
- And she paid for eternity…
- Exactly, he said softly.
They looked at each other tenderly. It was snowing… he looked at her and kissed her arm where she had hurt herself. They gave the skates back and left the ice rink.
- You’re going to give me your name and phone number now?
- All right, she finally said.
She looked in her purse and she found a piece of paper and a pen. He turned around so she could use him as a support. She wrote her name and her phone number.
- I can’t believe what I’m doing, she said.
- Write clearly, please, said Terrence and let destiny follow its course…
He turned around when she was done. She smiled with her little piece of paper. He was waiting impatiently. She was about to give him the piece of paper when a big truck passed really fast making the piece of paper fly and all the papers that were on the ground flying with it, from where they were standing.
- No! Said Terrence.
There was a little tornado and the little piece of paper got mixed with all the other papers.
- That was an accident! Write it again!
- I can’t! It’s a sign! Said the young woman, destiny is telling us back off.
They started walking while talking.
- If destiny didn’t want us to be together, so why did we meet tonight? I got you there, right?
- Well, I don’t know, but it’s not an exact science, it’s a feeling.
- What if you’re wrong? What if we separate without anything, not address or phone number, you think that destiny is going to show up at my door one morning and give me your information?
She looked at him and thought.
- You know what? That’s the best idea you’ve had all evening…
- What? What’s the good idea?
She looked in her purse and she got a 5 dollar note. She gave him a pen.
- Take this and write your name and phone number…
- On the 5 $ note?
- Yes, do it please…
There was Santa Claus statue where they standing and he used it to write his name and phone number.
- You’re a very strange and interesting young woman, he said while he was writing.
He gave her the 5$ note. She took it and ran on the other side of the street to buy some mint candies at a stand. She used the 5$ note with Terrence’s phone number. The latter as looking at her surprised. He followed her on the other side of the street.
- Hey! What are you doing?
- If this 5$ bill comes back in my hands and I see your phone number and I call you, you’ll believe destiny at that moment right?
- What about me?
- What do you mean?
- If we’re sending something in the universe with my name and phone number, we have to do the same thing with you too, right?
- You’re right, it has to be fair. Wait… what do I have in my bag?
She took a book out, “Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare”.
- Romeo and Juliette? Said Terrence.
- I’m going to put my name and number inside of this book and tomorrow morning, I’m going to drop it at store that sells used books.
- Which one?
- You’re not going to tell me?
- That way, every time you’ll see a store that sells used books, you’ll go in and look for my book…
- All of this makes no sense. I’m not spending an excellent evening with a stranger to let chance manipulate us…
The young woman stopped and looked at him. They were in front of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. She had to try something else.
- Come with me, she said taking his hand.
She took him inside the hotel.
- We’re going to get a room? Let’s do it!... I’m kidding! But I want to get to know you…
She took him running to the elevators of the hotel. There were some on both sided of the hallway.
- Where are we going? Asked Terrence.
She called the elevator on the right side, Then she went on the other side and called the elevator… he followed her.
- No, stay over there! Don’t make me come on your side…
- All right…
- When the elevator arrived, we’re going to take it. If we chose the same floor, it would mean that we’re destined to be together now.
- You’re crazy…, he said discouraged.
The elevators arrived. She got in and she said:
- Get in…
- Take a deep breath and when the doors close, press on a floor number.
- I don’t understand all this…
- You don’t need to understand, you have to have faith…
- Faith in what?
Then she took the little bag with the black gloves and threw it at him. He caught it.
- Hey, she said looking at him
He looked at her.
- It’s Candy… My name is Candy.
And the door closed on both sides. Candy pressed on the number 23. And she prayed he would chose the same floor number.
Terrence in the elevator, looked at the numbers… what should he choose? He didn’t have all night… he approached his hand to the numbers, backed off and finally pressed on the number 23. He looked in the little bab and he saw that there was only one glove…
Candy in her elevator, took the other glove out of her pocket…she looked at the number going up.
Terry in his elevator saw the elevator stop at number 14… the doors opened and a man and little boy dressed as the devil came in.
- Here’s the elevator, said his father, get in.
Terry looked at them stunned, the devil had just ruined his plans.
- I’m going up, said Terry.
- It’s ok, John likes to ride in elevators.
The little devil in the elevator started screaming and he pressed on at least a dozen elevator floor numbers…
- Don’t do that! Yelled Terrence.
- Hey stop screaming at him, he’s just a child…
Terrence shook his head and the little devil screaming moving his fork. He didn’t say anything else…
Candy on her side had arrived to the 23rd floor and she got out, full of hope… She walked to the other side to wait for Terrence.
Terry’s elevator broke down and it was stuck for a few moments between the 15 and 16th floor.
- Looks like we’re stopped, said the father
- SSSSS, said the little devil.
Terrence wanted to die! The elevator wasn’t moving…
- I have to meet a girl, he finally said, if we choose the same floor…
- Oh, said the father.
- But since your son pressed on all those buttons… I have to check every floor because he elevator is going to stop and open its doors anyway…
- We’re not in a hurry, said the father, we have all our time…
The elevator finally got to the 16th floor. The doors opene and Terrence got out to check…
- Is she there? Asked the little boy.
- No, said Terrence, let’s go!
The went back inside the elevator.
- Let’s go John, said the father to the little boy.
The latter put his fork between the doors which opened again, slowing the rising more…
Candy on the 23rd floor was sitting on the floor still waiting, in vain.
Terrence, in the meantime, with all the stops had other people coming inside the elevator who would get out on every floor with him to check if Candy was there. There was a lady with a dog and two other couples…
Candy discouraged and tired of waiting, call the elevator and she went back downstairs to leave.
Terrence arrived when Candy’s elevator doors had just closed. He was alone… he didn’t see her. He took the elevator back down to follow her. He got there but he didn’t see her.
Candy got out of the hotel and she stopped a cab and went back home.
Terry got out too late to see her, he thought he saw her, he stopped several walking blond women who had the same coat colour as Candy’s but it wasn’t her… He thought he was going to go crazy! He couldn’t have just lost her just like that! He was discouraged and he want back home, very very sad…
And time passed…