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Simply Solo Spotlight: Serendipity – A True Story

December 13, 2011

Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is by the talented writer, Edward Grey. I love reading Edward’s blog for tips on writing as well as short stories guaranteed to transport me to another world. Be sure to also check out his official website to keep updated on his writing endeavors!

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at:

Serendipity A True Story

clip_image002We all know the movie types: this person loses their significant other and struggles to notice true love as it smacks them across the face more violently than a two-week-old fish in the hot sun. No one believes there is truth in any of these movies, and for good reason. Hardly anything ever works out the way we see them on the silver screen. However, these stories are the works of the human mind, and thus they cannot be completely unrealistic, which means you aren’t completely bonkers for thinking that Mr. Right might one day be that fish.

This leads me to Serendipity, which is—and always will be—one of my favorite romantic movies. Although there seems to be at least a little mystical power directing the plot to an amazing end, everything that happens during the movie is nothing short of priceless: from him always checking for that book to her eye-balling five-dollar bills to see if his name appears on it. That is a kind of dedication that even some of the most faithful of loved ones cannot say they’ve experienced.

clip_image004In 1999, I was young, seventeen, living in Arizona (five-hundred miles from my parents), and working hard to survive. I couldn’t live on my own yet, so I stayed with my friend and his family. People had come and gone, and most didn’t even leave a microscopic footprint in my life. One did, and when she came into my life, it was as if she stomped me into the ground, turning me into nothing more than a moist pulp smeared into the carpet. It sounds unpleasant, but I can assure you it was absolutely wonderful.

For a few months, we grew closer and closer, but I soon moved back into my parent’s house (California) because I realized that there were things I needed to take care of to succeed as an adult that I couldn’t do while working 40+ hours a week on a flex schedule. I never said goodbye, I just left. Sincerely, it was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made.

Despite separation, she and I kept in touch through the old AOL Instant Messenger. Our conversations would go on for hours and hours, never faltering except for when sleep or work intervened. Soon, the messages became less gradual, and she disappeared from my life altogether.

In 2004, I heard a song by Ronan Keating called When You Say Nothing at All, and I instantly thought of the one that got away. I did my research on MySpace (read: stalked people with the same name) and eventually found her profile. I reconnected, and though it was five years later, we picked up as if nothing ever changed. We told each other stories, and soon she told me she was going to be visiting her brother in a nearby city. I cleared my schedule, and when she arrived I spent some time with her, and even introduced her to my girlfriend.


That was a problem. We always had feelings for each other, those little strings that liked to pluck soft romantic arpeggios in the hallways of our hearts, but she was seeing someone—and so was I. Her situation could use change, but I, unfortunately, was falling in love with the woman I was seeing. That didn’t matter though, because if she had gone out on a limb and told me how she felt, I likely would’ve ended it. (Certainly saving me a lot of heartbreak in the future.)

Sadly, she never said anything before leaving, and we never explored a future together. We talked for a few months, and eventually our lives got in the way again. Six years had passed, leading into a quiet 2010 complete with the murder of my engagement. MySpace had crumbled, and I was now using Facebook. Throughout those six years, I would often search for her name, but would always come up empty… it seemed like she was gone for good.

I let a year pass quickly into 2011—well I should say fate let a year pass—before I found an old song I’d written for her when I first moved away to California. I don’t just mean silly lyrics either (although they seem pretty mushy), but it was a full on song: guitar, drums, etc. This heartfelt song made me do a “thorough” search of Facebook, and I finally found her. I friended her, and she accepted (against what her husband wanted her to do). We didn’t talk (her husband again), but we kept a close eye on each other.

A few months later, I found five long conversations I’d saved from the AIM days. Going through it brought back some emotion, but most of all, it made me miss her more than I realized. I sent her a message with them attached, and we picked up again right where we left off: in perfect harmony with each other.

While I had helped fate along a little bit, things seemed to fall into place quickly. It all made about as much sense as a romantic film (which is no sense at all), and that’s when I realized that I needed to make my own romantic film by taking charge of my own destiny. What was even more serendipitous is she was leaving her cruel husband, and I wasn’t seeing anyone, perfectly bringing our lives together where it failed so many times before.


Pictured: Fairytale / Nonsense / Life

This time, I don’t plan on letting her go. She will be in my life for as long as the world allows. I plan to hold onto what we have, cherish it, and love her for everything that she was and is to me. I don’t want to regret losing her. This tenacity is something I learned from my experience in loving and losing, and repeating the same thing over and over. You should certainly be just as tenacious, regardless of the pain someone has caused you in the past. So if you know someone dangling that stinky old fish in front of you, perhaps taking a step down an uncertain path will be just what you need to move on and find what you are truly looking for.

Do you have a fish in your life? Have you reconnected with someone in your past that you feel is the best decision you ever made? Tell me about it in the comments and help others feel confident in taking that fantastic adventure in a new direction!

Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2011 11:50 am

    It must be serendipity: I just watched that movie over the weekend!

    All kidding aside, I’ve heard so many people talk about this concept, and while your story is inspiring, it does raise a concern: Isn’t it wholly unfair to the other people in your lives that you and your star-crossed lover were always tied up with one another?

    I’m absolutely all about the happy ending, but as someone who was blindsided by my ex, who left me for his own serendipitous star-crossed former lover (though he proposed to me — and asked me to have children with him — and never mentioned he wasn’t over her, and was with me for 13 years, etc.), this raises serious issues. You mention that she left her “cruel husband” — well, I’m quite sure that even though my ex said daily that he loved me with all of his heart, in the days when he and his ex-ex were hooking up, I’m quite confident I was portrayed as a similarly “cruel wife.” Though that wasn’t me at all…

    And it has only continued, as the new couple now tells MY CHILDREN that they were always meant to be, and because they loved each other first it’s all ok, etc. It’s just a big ugly hot mess, yet it never had to be that way.

    I guess my comment is this: I just wish people would have the vision and maturity to deal with their feelings, when they’re having them — and don’t let fate/destiny/life/reality deter you from processing through and respectfully, considerately ending (or not) a relationship. Because the fallout of a late-in-life change of course or change of mind can be devastating — when a simple conversation and “figuring it out” much earlier would have made it easier on all involved!

    • December 13, 2011 2:50 pm

      Thanks for you comment Mikalee! I see your concern, especially when you mention people having the maturity to deal with their feelings when they arise, and I fully agree that people should get it all out on the table before they could possibly hurt someone else later on in life.

      I think it would be fantastic if people had the piece of mind to deal with things when they arise, but the reality is people rarely will, which is incredibly unfortunate. While I don’t condone people leaving someone just because their long-lost love is now available, I do if its the best thing for them. Happiness is important for everyone, and if you’ve spent years trying to make a marriage or relationship work and it’s become nothing but a loveless black hole, then it’s time you do something for both your sake regardless if your true love is there or not. The consequences of staying in that kind of relationship could be dire for everyone involved, especially unions with children.

      To answer your first question, we played it fairly. We were tied up in each other, but were always friends first. Very close friends, but we knew our boundaries, which is why when the unlikely opportunity presented itself, we snatched it up.

      I suppose I should elaborate a bit on what my definition of cruel is: violent and mean. His disposition was abusive both physically and mentally. She needed out of there, and was on her way out the door before I “came back” into her life, which is why I say that if you are in a loveless union you should get out of it now–a little help along the way to nudge you in the right direction is always helpful, though.

      I’m sorry to hear what happened to you. It really sounds like you ex-husband and his current interest are being quite immature and it shows when you tell me the things they say to “win” your children. How old are they?

      It’s not uncommon for parents to use that tactic when separating from each other. Usually there’s one trying to make sense of everything that happened and slowly moving on with their life. While there’s the other that plays the world against their ex-partner to either justify the decision they made or to win people in their life over. With children, the easiest way to win your partner their affection by justifying it or telling them things that make it seem simpler than it really is.

      Again, thanks for commenting. You bring up a very good point. If you would like to discuss it further you are welcome to message me via facebook or you can find other ways to contact me on my blog. I’d offer up my email, but I don’t want internet crawlers to turn it into a spam-filled mess. 🙂

      • December 13, 2011 3:34 pm

        Wow — thank you for the thoughtful response. I can absolutely see both sides of it … and I would never, EVER encourage people to stay in a loveless union. But in my situation, the ex now parades around claiming he was always pining for her, and that our union was always “loveless” — despite communicating to me constantly during our 13 years of togetherness that he was completely, over-the-moon happy. So please forgive me for seeming a little jaded when it comes to the serendipity angle.

        However, all that said: Had he followed his supposed “true” feelings from day one, and had he been mature enough to realize his destiny with his ex-ex, then I would NOT have been allowed to bring two amazing, beautiful souls into this world. For that — and his ignorance of his true feelings — I guess I’ll always be somewhat grateful! My kids are now 9 and 12, but they were 5 and 8 when he left. So they were (and still are, somewhat) at sponge-like ages, points in life at which people can easily fall prey to manipulation and revisionist history … like to which my ex and his new(ish) wife are now subscribers.

        Anyhow, my personal story is long and convoluted — if you’re interested, feel free to pop over to my blog to take a look (my first post documents the beginning of the end, though my blog has definitely evolved since then). After all, I found out about my husband’s true feelings on a brick. A literal brick…as in, the kind that might hit you over the head. 😉

        I’m absolutely sorry for what your Kate Beckinsale endured in your situation: NO ONE deserves to be in an abusive relationship, so I for one am grateful she left him!

        Thank you for sharing your story — and adding some perspective for those of us who surprisingly find ourselves on the other side of a star-crossed lover triangle.

  2. December 13, 2011 1:45 pm

    I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of “the one that got away” or “true love” compared to a stinky old dead fish, slapped across your face yet. For sure, I’m going to look at Kate Beckinsale in a whole different light now.

    • December 13, 2011 3:01 pm

      lol, Kate as a stinky old fish? Hmm, thankfully she has a lot of redemption as a sexy werewolf hunter… a stinky old fish wielding dual pistols and wearing red lipstick and tight leather battling werewolves.

      Thanks for reading! 😀

  3. December 13, 2011 8:16 pm

    I actually reconnected with my special someone from my past this summer. We had been friends (and even dated for awhile) in high school, then lost touch. He found me via facebook and we started talking – it was like we had picked right back up where we left off 12 years earlier. He finally asked me out and I was super nervous about the whole thing and actually almost canceled – I didn’t know if it was a date date or a friend date, or what. We talked for 3 hours and it was like we’d never been apart.

    He asked me out again a week later, kissed me goodnight, and then after our third date we knew we wanted to be together. And 5 months later, we know we want to be together forever. We make each other exceedingly happy and its amazing.

    Thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

  4. December 13, 2011 8:23 pm

    And thank you, Sarah, for sharing your amazing story! Sounds like you have a winner, good luck in your future endeavors! 🙂

  5. December 14, 2011 10:58 am

    Edward, wonderful story.

    Coincidentally, my girlfriend and I just watched ‘Serendipity’ last night (one of my holiday favorites this time of year).

    Though I don’t currently have anyone that makes me feel like I ‘let one get away’; I know that if the woman that was sitting next to me on the couch last night during the movie ever went away I would certainly know the feeling of lost love.

    • December 14, 2011 5:15 pm

      Thank you! Its better to never feel the “let one get away” feeling, but if you can imagine what it would be like, then I suspect you have someone very special in your life, which you aren’t ready to let go of any time soon. 😀

  6. December 14, 2011 3:43 pm

    This is the greatest love story I’ve ever read, and it couldn’t have came at a more beautiful time in my life. Thank you for sharing, and hold on tight to her – don’t let go!

    • December 14, 2011 5:19 pm

      Thanks Grace, I’m glad it touched you at the right time in your life. 🙂

      I told her that I wouldn’t let her go until I was forced to by natural causes (i.e. leaving this mortal body), I just hope I have a loooong time before that day comes. 😀

    • December 14, 2011 8:47 pm

      Love the name by the way! It’s also the name of the little girl in my upcoming novel Shadows of the Mind. 😀

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