Marriage

By Lawrence Raab

Years later they find themselves talking
about chances, moments when their lives
might have swerved off
for the smallest reason.
                                     What if
I hadn’t phoned, he says, that morning?
What if you’d been out,
as you were when I tried three times
the night before?
                           Then she tells him a secret.
She’d been there all evening, and she knew
he was the one calling, which was why
she hadn’t answered.
                               Because she felt—
because she was certain—her life would change
if she picked up the phone, said hello,
said, I was just thinking
of you.
            I was afraid,
she tells him. And in the morning
I also knew it was you, but I just
answered the phone
                            the way anyone
answers a phone when it starts to ring,
not thinking you have a choice.

Lawrence Raab, “Marriage” from What We Don’t Know About Each Other


Co-incidences

From The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera:

“Our day to day life is bombarded with fortuities or, to be more precise, with the accidental meetings of people and events we call coincidences. ‘Co-incidences’ means that two events unexpectedly happen at the same time, they meet: Tomas appears in the hotel restaurant at the same time the radio is playing Beethoven. We do not even notice the great majority of such coincidences. If the seat Tomas occupied had been occupied instead by the local butcher, Tereza never would have noticed that the radio was playing Beethoven (though the meeting of Beethoven and the butcher would also have been an interesting coincidence). But her nascent love inflamed her sense of beauty and she would never forget that music. Whenever she heard it, she would be touched. Everything going on around her at that moment would be haloed by the music and take on its beauty.

… [Human lives] are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence (Beethoven’s music, death under a train) into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life… Without realising it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.

It is wrong, then, to chide the novel for being fascinated by mysterious coincidences, but it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty.”

Chance and Order III. Kenneth Martin. 1971-2.

Chance and Order III. Kenneth Martin. 1971-2.