Once upon a time, in another country...
It did not matter at all, that the two of us had never met in person before. It did not matter that I really did not have a good handle on where I stood just then. It did not matter that I had asked to meet her before but that scheduling and logistics had gotten in the way. It did not matter that it was a two hour drive, one way, and that there was a possibility that the trip would have been fruitless and in vain. It did not matter that the lady knew this information and that this knowledge may have perhaps put her "unfairly" on the spot to have not said "no" — all is fair in love and war. It did not matter that the lady had slept with someone else recently, and that I knew it — that was not my problem, and I wasn't looking for "a quick hook-up" with her anyway.
I had believed that I had been diligent. I believed that I had gone to somewhat heroic lengths. I believed that I had been clear about what I desired. I believed that I had exhausted all reasonable opportunities. I believed that I had seen clear signs that nothing was going to work in this case.
At any rate, sometime after the events described, my mother and I were once discussing the idea espoused by Louis Pasteur, that "chance favors the prepared mind." It was my contention that sometimes, even chance and a prepared mind were insufficient to the challenge. I pulled the basic outlines of the particular circumstances I am discussing here out to illustrate my case. My mother said simply, as a matter of fact, "You did not exercise enough initiative." She was certain. Naturally, I thought she was crazy. I thought she was underestimating me, yet again, as I have believed, off and on, that she is wont to do. I thought it was her personal philosophical biases, and what I perceived to be a distorted view of my psyche and character talking. I thought that were she in possession of all the facts of the situation, she would not have reached the assessment she did. I thought that there comes a point where one's failed attempts become writing on the wall, and only a crazy fool proceeds further in the face of obvious futility.
I was sitting there this evening, watching the movie, unsuspecting, when it hit me: damned if the woman wasn't right, in the end. I could have got in the car, put gas in the tank, and made the drive. I could have gone to that mall. Once there, I could have made a call: "Hello, this is Robert, I'm over at the mall and I would like to see you for a drink or perhaps something to eat. Will you meet me here?" I could have done that, but I never did. I considered it a fool's errand. The thing is, sometimes attraction and love are quests at which only a brave fool succeeds. Had I mounted my horse though and made the quest, there would have existed at least one more small chance that did not exist in the absence of doing so. Would it necessarily have been in vain? I will never know, now.
The woman whose belly had once vomited me up onto the world forty odd years ago was right, yet again, damnit, and I just realized it tonight in a flash of insight, that it was indeed so. How could I have been so stupid, and so hubristically stupid at that? Perhaps I just didn't want to face the idea that there had been something more I could have done which I had not done. Sometimes, we go blind with the thirst for vindication. Twenty-twenty hindsight often feels like a curse. Of course, the trick is to use the wisdom we gain the next time it is applicable and needed. So I resolve. The question is, will I be able to avail myself of another similar opportunity sometime in the future?