Do you ever wonder, if you had gone to a different yoga class, a different coffee shop, turned down a different street…if you would have still ran into that old friend and ended up picking up right where you left off? Or if you would have ever met your future husband if you hadn’t been sitting in the exact same spot 5 years ago that he happened to place his yoga mat or coffee next to yours and say
“Is anyone sitting here?” This question is ever present in Lucy and Colin’s story. Lucy grew up in a Virginia suburb of Washington D.C., spending time during her childhood in her grandparents’ seaside home in Provincetown (lovingly referred by the locals as P-Town) on Cape Cod. She went to college in Virginia and continued to live and work in the D.C. area for the first few years of her adult life until she was 24. Colin grew up in Cork, Ireland. Although he had experienced a significant loss in his childhood with the untimely passing of his mother, he has a cheerful and optimistic disposition. Colin, on a student work visa program, spent six summers working on a whale watching boat, not only in the same Cape Cod Provincetown that Lucy spent time in, but on the same boat her mom had worked on in the ‘70s. Lucy and Colin could have met each other in Provincetown, but they didn’t. They never even saw each other, or if they did pass one another, maybe at an ice cream shop, or walking along Commercial Street, they don’t remember it. When Lucy was 24, she began to feel like she needed to get out of D.C. She had lived in the area all of her life, and her job as an event planner was fairly stagnant. She applied to a few jobs and landed an administrative job in Boston, which she was excited about because she had some family in the area and it was close in proximity to her beloved P-Town. She moved in December of 2012 into an apartment with friends of friends in Davis Square, a vibrant neighborhood for young people living in the Boston area. Since the start of her new job was so close to the holidays and she didn’t have any vacation time to take, she decided not to go back to D.C., but instead spend time with her family in Boston. Her good friend from home, Amy came up to visit the day after Christmas. Meanwhile, Colin had taken some time off from work around the holidays to visit his brother, who had moved to Boston a few years prior, met his wife and settled down there. Colin’s brother had two young kids, and two young kids equals exhausted parents, so one night Colin decided to get out of the house and get a few beers by himself. He chose the bar randomly-a place called Joshua Tree in the center of Davis Square. Joshua Tree served beer and had a television, his two requirements, so he sat down to enjoy an evening to himself, and potentially chat up a few locals. Lucy and Amy had spent the day in Lucy’s new place working to unpack Lucy’s boxes and decided to walk the short distance into Davis Square for drinks that evening to watch a football game. They were headed for Five Horses, a place Lucy had been before, but as they were passing Joshua Tree, Lucy said, out of the blue, “Wanna go here instead?” Amy shrugged, “Sure”. Lucy’s not sure why she suggested Joshua Tree. She thinks it was just because it was a little cold outside and it seemed enticing not to have to walk a few more blocks. They entered and sat at the large round bar, a few seats away from a guy who was enjoying a beer by himself. When Colin started chatting up the two girls sitting next to him, sparks didn’t fly. In fact, Lucy was a little annoyed. “I wanted to watch the game and talk to my friend,” she told me. “He kept talking.” By the end of the evening though, things had changed. This guy was funny and nice. He struck up a conversation with them because, well, he was Irish, and that’s what Irish people do at bars. He seemed like the type of guy who was truly hard to come by, a cute accent and endearing. Lucy had the inklings of a crush. The girls, after learning that he didn’t have any New Year’s Eve plans, invited him on their road trip to P-Town for the holiday. We’re staying at my grandparents house, she told him, you can stay there too. And he did. They drove up there, walked along the beach, rang in the New Years and drove back to Boston the next day, joining the universal club of having had too much to drink the night before. “I was hungover and didn’t talk at all on the way home,” Colin said. Lucy emphasized, “he literally did not talk the entire time. I thought he hated me! Eventually, we just stopped asking him questions, and I figured I’d never see this guy again.” But when they dropped him off back in Boston, Colin asked Lucy when he could see her again. Back in Boston, Lucy was feeling the downside of a whirlwind romance. Colin was going back to Ireland at the end of the week. This had been fun and over an extremely short time, she discovered she had developed actual feelings for him. They had made plans to see each other the next day, on January 2nd, but on the day of, she cancelled. We’ve all been there, in some way or another. Something that seems exciting- a potential relationship, a new career prospect, a cool opportunity—but you have a voice in the back of your head that says: this will never work. Why bother? Lucy felt this way. “What was the point when I was going to make myself more sad by seeing him again?” She went home after work, feeling defeated, and did what hundreds of thousands of Americans do when they’re feeling sad. She ordered Chinese take out. It came, she ate it, and then cracked open the fortune cookie. It read “You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take”. Interesting, she thought. Was this a sign? There are two fields of camp around signs. If you’re not in the “No signs” camp, you probably are in the “If something may be a sign, I probably shouldn’t ignore it”. She took it as a sign. “Let’s meet up”, she texted Colin. They went out for drinks. Colin spent the night. He flew back to Ireland. They continued to talk. Lucy went to visit him two months later. They made it official. Ten months later, she packed her bags in Davis Square, bought a one-way ticket to Ireland and moved in with Colin. They got married in a small civil ceremony in a quaint town in Ireland with their close friends and family. They got one dog, lived there for two years, moved back to Boston. They got another dog, moved back to DC and bought a house. They are happy. This story could have ended several times in several different ways. Colin could have been just someone she met once at a bar. He could have been someone she had a short fling with. He actually could have been someone she smiled to as she walked by the window of the bar he was sitting in, on the way to another bar. But he wasn’t. We’ll never know all of the people that could have meant something to us, but didn’t. It’s impossible. But next time you have the opportunity to take a chance that excites you, and you still take pause because you feel like it will never work out, remember the wisdom of the golden cookie’s fortune: You miss 100% of the chances that you don’t take. Postscript, or, The Piano Story Although this isn’t part of the Lucy and Colin meeting story (or maybe it is, depending on how you look at it), Colin shared this with me and I think it’s worth sharing. In early December 2012, a few weeks before he met Lucy, Colin remembers one ordinary afternoon. He had asked a friend to hang out and the friend responded that he couldn’t because he had to do Christmas shopping with his live-in girlfriend. Colin headed to the next town over and sat down in a coffee shop to drink a cup of coffee. He was feeling sad for himself and started to have a bit of a pity party- his friends were coupling off and he was alone, had been for a while, and was tired of it. In a not-quite-a-prayer, but kind of prayer way, he spoke to his mom (if you remember, she had passed away when he was very young) saying, “ Come on, can you help me out here?” The pity party ended with his coffee, and he more or less forgot about it. He met Lucy four weeks later. When Lucy first went to visit Ireland, they took a short trip to stay at a hotel called Aghadoe Heights in Killarney (side note: Lucy and Colin very much recommend going here). Colin got Lucy a spa appointment, and while she was at the spa, he went down to the bar for a drink. There was a pianist playing something, which Colin at first couldn’t recognize, but soon realized it was an old, very rarely heard song called My Woman My Wife. Colin had never heard this song before except in one instance. In his childhood, his Dad used to sing this song to his Mom. Colin had never heard the song since his Dad had sung it. He could feel a lump in his throat. It was like his mom was smiling at him and Lucy, tucked away in their beautiful hotel on the hill, saying Here Colin, here she is.