A few weeks ago, I received an email from a childhood friend I had not seen or spoken to in about 25 years. As it turns out, he wasn’t even looking for me when he found me online. A photographer friend of his randomly sent him a link to my website and as he was looking at my photographs, he started to put things together.
After exchanging a few emails, we wound up meeting for lunch about a week later. It was incredibly surreal. We were both 25 years older, but we picked up right where we left off and talked about our elementary school friends, summers at the town pool and playing Dungeons & Dragons. We also talked about the very different paths that we each chose and where they led us over the years.
I had searched for him online a number of times, but I was never able to find a single trace of his existence. Google returned pages and pages of results of people with the same name, but I never found my friend Tim. There was also no sign of him on any of the popular social media sites. Oddly enough, we both moved to Los Angeles within about six months of one another and now live only a 15-minute drive apart.
After catching up over sandwiches and non-alcoholic beverages, we hugged and agreed to meet again and continue our conversation. I emailed him a few days later to make tentative plans for the following weekend.
That Friday night, I left work at about 6 PM. I walked to the parking garage with a co-worker and we stood on the sidewalk, talking for about a half hour. We then decided to go get a drink and walked a couple of blocks towards the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. We didn’t really have a particular destination in mind, but a few seconds after turning onto the Promenade, I felt a gentle push from a passerby. It was my friend Tim.
At this point, my brain pretty much exploded. What are the odds? I was still blown away by the fact that we both wound up in Los Angeles — 25 years later and six months apart. And now, one week after I saw him for the first time in decades, we randomly bump into one another on the street. Had this happened just two weeks prior, we would have walked right by each other.
Coincidences like these always make me stop and think. I have always been suspicious of the timing when certain people enter or exit my life and the circumstances of those relationships and how they develop. I don’t believe in fate or destiny, but I can’t help but think that I was supposed to meet certain people at a certain time. Had I made slightly different decisions, would I still have met those people, perhaps a bit earlier or later in life or in a different place? Or would I have met completely different people who might have had a greater or lesser impact on me? The randomness of the universe amazes me, but every once in a while, I think maybe it’s not so random.