Remember that movie from the late 90’s, Sliding Doors? The tag-line on movie poster said: “What if one split-second sent your life in two completely different directions?” I am sure that everyone has found themselves at a cross-roads at least once in their lives, and taken a specific path, only to wonder at some point, “what if I had made a different decision?”
This weekend just passed, we had some old friends of Gary’s around for lunch. They live in Australia now, and I have not seen them since our wedding. The first time I met Trevor and Barbara, was the day after mine and Gary’s first date. They left the country to go and live in Scotland shortly thereafter, so I have never really had the opportunity to get to know them that well. Gary has known Trevor all his life, they met in primary school, and are still best of friends, even though they don’t get to see each other much these days. When I went to bed, I couldn’t get that movie, Sliding Doors, out of my mind, I couldn’t help wondering how my life would be, if either of us had made a different decision, after that first date.
As everyone sat around, reminiscing about days gone by (as you do when you see someone you haven’t seen in ages) I was reminded of the life that Gary had before me. How these friends represent a time in Gary’s life that I am not a part of, a part where he was in love with someone else, married to someone else, having babies with and making a life with someone else. It is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. Even now. And as much as we have a strong relationship, we have a family together and love each other tremendously, the thought of it makes me feel somewhat uneasy. Which is what made me think of that movie. What if, in a split-second, we had somehow taken different paths.
At the time of Sliding Doors’ release, in 1998, I was involved with someone who, in the end, hurt me very badly, by having an affair. (Who incidentally arrived outside my house with a marriage proposal pinned to the side of his car, on the morning Gary and I went for breakfast after our first date. Long story.) In 1998, Gary had been married for 12 years, and had 2 boys, aged 11 and 9. I am not sure if getting divorced was even a fleeting thought in his head at that time. Even in a made for TV romance, it would be hard to believe that these two paths would cross, and continue along one path together. Did destiny intervene and set the wheels in motion for us. What if Gary did not get divorced? What if I didn’t find out about the affair and stayed with “Mr Wrong”? What if we had not gone for lunch that day? What if these friends of Gary’s had not liked me when they first met me, and had discouraged him from pursuing the relationship? And I shudder to think, What if my babies did not exist as a result?
Thankfully I do not need to know the answers to these questions, and I am so happy with the way things have worked out. I am glad that we both chose this particular path, and that the what if scenarios exist only in my imagination.
I love you Gary, and I am so glad that we picked the same sliding door.