I strongly believe that everyone should have a story. The meet cute, chance encounter, strangers in the night sort of story that feels as if it has been lifted out of a romantic comedy or novel and modified just enough to fit your own life and circumstances.

Too many people lack those stories, which makes one wonder if such tales really are meant only for friends of friends or second cousins once removed. They’re not close enough to touch or process, which means that the adage of “you never know when it’s going to happen to you” starts to take on a mocking, almost cruel tone.

And then a story happens, and it doesn’t matter what happens from that point on. If nothing else, you have a story and you can wrap that one pure moment around you like a blanket whenever you start to doubt that the rest of the ideal scenario is going to work out.

My story involves that transition time between late spring and early summer, a bus and karaoke. I met a stranger on the bus that evening, as I was en route to karaoke at a location new to me. I had never taken that bus, never waited at that stop, never traveled in that exact direction. And as such, I’d never met the man who sat down next to me and struck up an effortless conversation that lasted the duration of his ride. We parted having exchanged names and quick sketches of our lives. After he’d left, I wished that I’d taken the initiative. I filed it away under “Next Time” and “What If.”

Until the story really picks up. As I sat in a private karaoke room, a knock came on the door. Then a man, asking for me. I had a phone call.

Someone mustered up the courage to call the place I’d mentioned, ask for me, and wait as the employee knocked on ten doors, asking ten times if someone with my name happened to be inside. And he then explained that he’d been kicking himself since saying goodnight. He hoped to speak to me again.

And he did.

The outcome isn’t important to this story. In fact, I won’t let the outcome tarnish this one moment I had, during which I felt as if anything might be possible.

What matters is that there was a story at all. That story is mine to keep.

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