Unraveling – Part 48

by Elizabeth

They were sitting in bed, John’s back resting against the headboard with Libby sitting between his legs reclining against his chest as he massaged her temples against a headache.  The room was quiet and dark and he spoke softly, his beautiful, melodic voice hushed to almost a whisper:

“You’re perfect for me, but you know that don’t you?”  She smiled a little as he continued:  

“I don’t believe in fate, much less in destiny, but I can’t deny there is something at work here that defies definition so let’s review, shall we?”  She answered his rhetorical question with yet another faint smile as he went on:

“Your father’s birthday having been the same as mine is mere coincidence; there are but three hundred and sixty five days in a year after all.  His favorite song, and mine, must be shared by  countless men.  Learning that my last name was the name of the street you lived on the night we first met – or that you remembered my lecture from that night, even passing on my message to your students, gave me slight pause; I was stunned, I’ll admit that – although I did not concede to you that the lecture you quoted was mine when we initially discussed The Best Professional Advice we had ever received – you were so fearful then and already so brave in taking a chance on divulging your sexuality to anyone, you clung desperately to your anonymity …  if you thought I could identify you, or somehow learn who you are, you may have stopped writing to me and you were so alone and I had so easily grown to care about you … I couldn’t risk disclosure.” 

She squeezed his hand, “Not much of a deception; how many people have heard that lecture and its wonderful advice over the years?  But yes, I would likely have deleted that anonymous email account and disappeared forever if you had told me I was quoting you.  As always, you made the right choice for me.”  

He smiled and gently massaged her shoulders as he went on: 

“And then you told me you were in Europe last summer, and later here, because you never forgot that night on The Green so many years ago and you wanted to hear that speaker, in reality me, lecture again.  All of this was, in my mind, becoming a bit surreal; still I reminded myself that these things are, individually,  merely serendipitous or suggestive of fate; there’s  not an ounce of empirical evidence to support anything more.” 

She nodded slightly, acknowledging his words … 

“Something had happened to you that  forced you to search and explore and although I didn’t know what it was until we discussed it, Dachau, on my visit last week, I knew it had to have been horrific – you were so far outside your comfort zone in talking to me nothing short of horror could have forced your fingers to click send on that first note, of this I was sure. So it went that through a mutual friend you found me, a sadist who wanted only to help you understand – neither of us knowing then that I, the sadist who was helping you find your answers, was also a man whose work you admire … or that we had met.  This is the simple explanation I chose to hold on to.”

She was growing sleepy now, but she loved their story and never tired of hearing it … 

“So I, eventually realizing who you were through our conversations – more than 1,000 pages of letters between us, my Love – and the information they innocently provided,  including words you remembered and shared with me from my  lectures, your attendance at  conferences in Europe and later here, both verified by a simple cross reference of names of attendees, asked you to review something for me, a document sent to me by *a colleague.* Graciously you said yes …  I wish I had been there to see your eyes when you understood that you were reading your own work, and that I could only have it if  I, your sadist and mentor, was actually, also, a man you knew.”  

She opened her eyes a little and assumed her part in the narration of her favorite fairy tale:

“And when my phone rang mere minutes after I had received that astonishing *document,* I knew before answering that it was you – and you spoke to me in confident disbelief …” 

“Taking a chance that you’d recall my first invitation, now decades old …” He interjected, and then continued: 

“If I asked you to have coffee with me today, Dr. Morgan, would you?” 

“Yes,” she replied dreamily, “Oh yes … and if I could turn back time I would have said yes to you the first time you asked – that night on The Green, on a street that bears your name, All Those Years Ago.”  

“And when the story is told in totality, Libby,” He said, “It feels like something more than serendipity.”  

She didn’t hear His last, she had fallen asleep in his arms.