An ancient Chinese proverb declares that “an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break”. This is the only explanation I can come up with for how, at the age of 14, I met the boy who would change my life.
I was on a cruise to Alaska with my family, and I should have been happy. Unfortunately, I have been battling the dark cloud of depression my whole life, and the previous couple of years had been particularly miserable. But no matter how sad I was, I was still on the lookout for cute guys. Hey, it’s just the way I am.
There was an especially cute guy who I kept seeing around the ship. He always wore a backwards Florida Gators baseball cap, and he kept popping up everywhere. I desperately wanted to talk to him, but a 14-year-old girl is not the smoothest at approaching attractive boys.
On the second to last day of the cruise, I was sitting on a lounge chair by the indoor pool, indulging myself in a Sidney Sheldon book. I glanced up and there he was, chatting with a crew member on the other side of the room. I sighed, resigned to the fact that I would never get up the courage to talk to him. But then he smiled. I felt like I had been struck by a bolt of lightning. It was as if a neon arrow had descended from the heavens and was pointing straight at his head. Then he ended his conversation and started to walk away.
I swear that my decision to follow him was completely unconscious. One minute I was sitting on the lounge chair, and the next thing I knew, I was on my feet racing after him. I chased him through several levels on an enormous ship, but I lost him. Dejected, I walked to the Teen Room. And there he was. Without hesitation, I went right up to him and introduced myself. I ended up on the receiving end of that dazzling smile.
He was 15 and from Florida, just an average teenage guy. Oh, but he wasn’t average to me. He gave me the happiest two days of my life. I’ve always been a loner, but he drew me into the group of teens and made me a part of something. We played cards, we went in the hot tub, we took silly pictures in which I got to sit on his lap. I confided in him about my depression, and he listened carefully and offered comfort. He made me happy. That may not sound like a big deal, but to someone with depression, it’s invaluable. This boy made me feel special. He said that good things were in store for me, and I believed him. He gave me hope.
If I had never met him, I’m not sure what my life would be like today. I’m positive that it would be sadder and more lonely. But when I start to feel badly, I can pull out my photo album from that trip and remember those two days of joy. And I can think that there may be more joy to come in the future.
The Red String of Fate brought him into my life. How else would I have met this boy who lived on the other side of the country? It must have been destiny. I think that a soulmate is someone who profoundly affects your life. That is exactly what the cute guy in the backwards baseball cap did. I am grateful to that invisible string—no matter how tangled it might get, I know that there is someone out there who’s rooting for me. And that is what keeps me going.