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Exercise #29: How Did We Ever Manage?

“How did we ever manage to find each other?” The question wasn’t always rhetorical. In the early years, you’d invite me to reminisce for hours about how we met for the first time at a mutual friend’s party. How you hesitated before giving me your number. How I heard that you were finding your way out of a relationship, so I never summoned the nerve to call. Then we didn’t see one another again for two years. How we used to enjoy retelling each other the story of our chance meeting at the museum, of my clumsy pick-up line that charmed you enough that you caught yourself thinking of me when I called you. We lay in bed for hours marveling at fate or chance or destiny or dumb luck—whatever force we credited in those happy moments for the circumstances that brought us together.

Later on, you’d pose the question in a tone that no longer invited an answer, and I was filled with my own questions. How did our stories grow stale? Did my charm fade, or your curiosity—or both? When did credit turn to blame? There was no sense of wonder in our last chance meeting—another party, at the home of a friend we didn’t know we had in common. How I struggled to think of anything to say. How your face flushed as our hostess made an excuse to whisk me away from you.

How did we ever manage to lose each other? End symbol


Note: The prompt was to write something that begins with the lead line, “How did we ever manage to find each other?” Didn’t like this prompt at all, so I’ve wrestled with it for three days.

© 2010 Edward F. Gumnick

This post is an exercise that I wrote as part of the Fall 2008 50/50 Workshop, on which I began work in September 2008. (I’m still—again—working on it as of August 2010.) Read a description of the 50/50 workshop, or view all of the Fall 2008 50/50 posts.

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