Lana’s face stood out in the crowd like a beacon of beauty: the elegant profile, the thick auburn hair tumbling over a mauve scarf, her focus rapt on the speaker, a Nepalese guru visiting Boston in the year 1999. We were 200 strong, packed together in folding chairs, seeking a better way. She turned in my direction and smiled, and I was undone. The distance between us dissolved. I was rocked by a sense of recognition.
It seemed we were touching hands, hearts, minds, across the 20 heads separating us.
She looked at me knowingly several times during that interminable wait. Amid the alluring descriptions of higher states of consciousness and transcendent bliss slid images of love. I was speeding into the future on waves of joy in sun-drenched seas.
Lana’s visage hinted at what I wanted: mysterious dark depths, a confident ease, the promise of excitement tempered by kindness. How could I know all this?
Eons later—no, it was about an hour—the talk ended. The milling commenced. I was in a sweat. I watched my soul mate laughing heartily with friends, throwing back her head, reaching for her stomach. When the opening came, I pounced.
I introduced myself. We made small talk. She was an architect (I loved the area’s colonials), she lived near Leslie University (so did I), she meditated (I was a long-time practitioner). I sensed worlds of possibility—weeks of revelation, months of discovery, a true karmic partnership. But none of that happened because Lana was married and had only been looking at a friend in the row behind mine. I’d managed to get everything wrong.
She walked off, probably without another thought about me.
I slipped out into the night, which felt a little colder than usual.
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