Life is full of choices and events. How much is controlled by people?
| The sunrise signaled a fresh start. At least, that's what I was told.
"Yeah." Her eyes were shining and wide as usual and she was clearly certain of her answer.
"I don't know, I kind of think that I'll get it if there's no one better who has applied."
"But you really want the job. It's perfect for you. You said so. It's fate."
"If you say so, babe."
The waitress brought our breakfast and Mandy began talking about her work week, which, as usual, was great. The woman returned shortly with extra jam for me and I started trying to size her up. She was in her fifties, maybe 54 or 55, and had gray eyes encircled by wrinkles and bags. She was very polite, but not exactly friendly. I wondered if she felt that she had met her fate.
"It's just like Andrea and Saul," Mandy began as she ate her eggs, cutting off one bite at a time, "She saw him every day in Geometry 100, but it wasn't until senior year that she realized he was 'the one.' One day, she came out of a class, I forget which one; her tire was completely flat. Out of nowhere, Saul pulled up with a jack and a spare. Two years later, they were married."
It was getting hot outside and the parasol above our table was failing to make much of a difference in the muggy air. As I stirred the celery stalk in my Bloody Mary, I listened to more examples of "fate" and silently prayed that I would get the job.
A few days later, I was home cleaning up after dinner. Mandy came into the kitchen and stood there silently for a moment - a very unusual thing for her.
"What's up, babe?" I asked.
"I'm pregnant," she said stoically. "I think it's time we get married."
I stood motionless and stunned for a few moments.
"What the.... how did this... you were using birth control." Then after a moment, I quietly let my feelings slip out. "We're not ready."
"Well sometimes God decides otherwise. We'll be fine." She sounded insistent.
"I'm not even working right now," I said, trying not to sound as panicked as I was.
"You will be. Cartwright and Daton should call any day."
"How can you be so sure? God, I need to put in more applications. Now." I closed the dishwasher and caught myself. I put my arm around her waist. "Are you ok?"
She smiled. "Great."
"As soon as I'm working, we'll get married," I promised.
"Actually, I was thinking that we could just go ahead and set a date. Just a month or two... before I get too big."
"Sure," I agreed. "Whatever you want." I took a deep breath and retrieved some rum from the cabinet above the stove.
The following Tuesday, I got a call confirming that the job was mine. On the first day, I was greeted by a man named Shawn.
"Hey, man! It's nice to meet you," he said when we encountered one another in the hall.
"You, too," I replied.
"Mandy? How do you know her?" I asked.
His smile waned. "Oh, just from college," he replied. "Anyway, welcome aboard, man."
The next few weeks were a bit tense, but I quickly settled in to the job. Mandy had become fairly high strung amid all that was going on, but she was handling the wedding plans without many requirements from me and I was getting not only used to the idea of fatherhood, but even a little excited. I returned home one Friday, high on the exhaustion of a successful work week, ready to have a night out.
"You're late," was the only greeting I received from Mandy when I came through the door.
"Sorry, Babe," I said, kissing her on the cheek. "I just wanted to finish up the project before the weekend. Didn't figure you'd notice."
"Wouldn't notice!" she nearly exclaimed. "I noticed that you didn't want to come home."
"Honey, I wanted to be here. I'm sorry. Let's go out. Your pick for dinner."
"No. I don't want to go out. I don't feel like it."
"Mandy, what's wrong?"
She stared at me for a moment and said: "I lost the baby."
I looked at her carefully. I felt uneasy and not in the way that I should.
"Anyway," she said, "everything's still on track and we can try again after we're married."
I said nothing for a while and thankfully, she was silent as well.
"I met your friend Shawn," I said finally.
"Oh," she replied.
"He got me the job didn't he?"
She didn't say anything for a few seconds, then told me: "He... helped a little. There are only three weeks until the big day. Your tux should be in soon."
"And why should we get married, Mandy?" I asked. "Because it's fate?"