Do you sometimes feel like your life is a very bizarre movie playing out? It happened to me on Monday morning as I was attempting to deliver a purple orchid to someone in Old Town.
A little background: On Sunday we had been invited for lunch by a very elegant French woman (somewhat older than we are) whom we met through Temple Micah. Her husband has been in a nursing home for several years with deteriorating Parkinson’s disease. Everything about the meal was absolutely perfect, down to the professionally baked apple tart. We hadn’t thought to bring a hostess gift, so the orchid was our attempt to say thank you the next day.
As I got out of the car, the freezing wind was threatening to strip the fragile plant of its purple blossoms. I was worried about getting into the building which requires guests to be buzzed in. I was hoping to leave the plant and card on her doorstep without having to bother her.
I heard someone walking at a fast pace down the sidewalk and I quickly inquired whether she was going into the building where our friend lives. She politely said no and walked on. It was only when she was out of earshot that I realized it was a girl my daughter had also by chance shared a house with in San Francisco, only to find out she had been a close friend of my friend Deborah’s daughter in childhood. But by the time I had this revelation, Virginia was out of sight. Virginia’s parents live in another part of the city so it was logical that she would be home from grad school, but what a coincidence that our paths would cross in Old Town.
So I tried valiantly to get into the building, clutching the purple-flowered plant. I was about to give up after finding my friend’s number constantly busy. Then I decided to randomly call someone else in the building to see if I could be granted entrance. The first person I called answered the phone and agreed to deliver the plant for me, not wanting to simply buzz me in. When she came to the door, it turned out to be the woman who had ridden up on the elevator with us the day before and had said “Stay warm!”
A little unnerved by these chance encounters, I drove home. It was the next day when I learned that at just about the time I was making my delivery, our friend’s husband had passed away. Hopefully the purple orchid can provide some comfort to her as she grieves the loss of her husband.