But a few weeks after my trip to London, he stood me up. Soon after, he married and had three children with the next woman he dated. I found him by accident, doing research on theater companies for my last novel. I composed the email: “Are you the same man who stood me up in Paris?He said he would visit me at my apartment in Paris one weekend and never showed. Two decades later, I learned that he actually had flown to Paris that weekend but had lost the piece of paper with my address and phone number. ”That’s how I learned what had happened that weekend and began to digest the full impact of our missed connection.
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After we sat down, they told me the story of their reunion, finishing each other’s sentences as if they had been married for years. Justin had arrived at her door at nearly the last moment he could have spoken up or forever held his peace.
One day, after a chance run-in with a friend of Kate’s, Justin texted Kate to arrange a phone conversation, then booked a trans-Atlantic flight to see her without warning. By the time of our lunch, the two were already living together.
He had since made amends to everyone, including Kate. The reason I was interviewing Justin, in fact, was that his app had helped facilitate a post-separation blind date, my first ever, with an artist for whom I had fallen at first sight.
(Tears now swelled in his eyes.) He wasn’t the best version of himself back then. I had been doing a lot of thinking about the nature of love, its rarity.
My interview with Justin Mc Leod was winding down when I tossed out one last question: “Have you ever been in love? No one, he said, had ever asked him that in an interview. “But I didn’t realize it until it was too late.” Then he asked me to turn off my recorder. Off the record, he looked relieved to unburden himself. But she was now living abroad, engaged to someone else.“Does she know you still love her? That had never happened to me, the at-first-sight part.
”The baby-faced chief executive had designed Hinge, which was a new dating app. He was also the first man to pop up on my screen after I downloaded Justin’s app.
In fact, we had just signed a contract to produce three books together: “The ABC’s of Adulthood,” “The ABC’s of Parenthood” and — oh, the irony — “The ABC’s of Love.”“What was the doodle? I showed her the drawing on my i Phone.“Are those ovaries? “Or flower buds, depending on how you look at it.”All perfectly reasonable interpretations of love begetting love begetting love, which is why we were all gathered around my table that night, weren’t we?
Because real love, once blossomed, never disappears.