Short Story of a Predetermined "Accidental" Meeting


PureInsight | February 24, 2003

[] Spring finally came and my husband and I set off to visit one of my friends in Boston. Once we got off the plane, we took the local train to get to our friend's home. When we disembarked from our train, we saw a familiar face on the platform. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was Fang Ming. He, too, rubbed his eyes in disbelief when he spotted us. We were all pleasantly surprised and could hardly believe that such a coincidence could occur in a foreign country five years after going our separate ways. Several minutes later, we had another surprise when his wife, Meng Han, drove by to pick up Fang Ming. She told us that it was the first time Fang Ming had taken the train to work. He always drove. She was supposed to have come by much earlier, but heavy traffic had delayed her. "How lucky to see you here," she said, "If I had arrived just a few minutes earlier, we would have missed each other." "Exactly," I replied, "It was predetermined that we should meet here."

The two of them lived a short distance from the friend whom we came to visit, so we arranged to visit with them first. It seemed the past had just happened yesterday, but it also seemed that a lifetime had gone by. We had been close friends when we were college students. During that time, we had many things in common to talk about, such as life, the future, our dreams, and our desire for a peaceful and happy life.

Fang Ming worked as he talked with us. He said he had to stay up all night to finish an urgent task that had to be done by the following day. Meng Han chatted with us about her family. She poured out a lot of complaints about her husband. When we were in college, we had had many long talks like this late at night. It was the same silent night and under the same quiet moon, but we were not the same people anymore. During our conversation, Ming Han observed us silently and every now and then said, "I envy you so much." she said. "You look no different than before, but your character has changed a lot. You are still as pure and genuine as before, but more rational and more mature. You are so peaceful and yet you seem to carry a great deal of strength. You say simple things and yet they sound so profound. I can see that you are very happy together and full of tender feelings toward each other. You never quarrel any more, do you?" My husband and I looked at each other, smiled and shook our heads. We recalled the past.

My husband and I had been well known for our quarrels. In the past, we quarreled frequently, every three or five days, even over trifles. "It was my fault before," I stammered. "It was my…" I flushed. "No, it was my fault," my husband said as well. "The Chinese ancients used the term 'love with a debt of gratitude' to describe how a relationship between a couple should be. 'Debt of gratitude' comes before 'love.' One should be giving, not overbearing. If this is the foundation, there will be no quarrelling between husband and wife." Meng Han didn't say anything. She regarded Fang Ming with gentler eyes. Time had passed and it was already dark outside. Everything was changing in the silent night. Fang Ming said, "I heard everything you've said, every word." When we were ready to leave, we gave them the book, Zhuan Falun. "Read it, please. It is what enabled us to change. Every secret is in the book." Fang Ming held the book in both hands, "Maybe our predestined encounter was for this." I saw in his eyes that he was truly grateful.

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