"Love is an extremely universal word. Every language knows it in one form or another. In the English language, the dictionary definition of love is: Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Love is probably the one emotion or feeling that can be felt in so many differerent ways and on so many different levels. No two relationships between loved one's are the same. However, every love has one thing in common. The root of it, the seed of this emotion, is a wonderful feeling. Even if in the end it may hurt, when you love somebody, for at least one minute of your life, you feel as if you are on top of the world."
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Part One: Age 1
"The first immediate connection in a human life is the loving eye contact with their mother."
The beautiful baby girl’s hazel eyes fly open to see her mother’s smiling face. The rest of the family laughs because her mom’s loving arms is the only place where she does not throw a fit of tears. The baby’s mouth curls into a charming smile as tears form in her mother’s eyes. There is no stronger bond than the one between a mother and her daughter.
Part Two: Age 3
"A girl's first love is her father."
Her eyes light up as her father carries out her delicious birthday cake. She can read, “Happy 3rd Birthday, Sammy!” written across the white frosting. She doesn’t know how to read the actual letters but it is a familiar message that she now memorizes. Her dad sets down her cake and stands to the side next to his wife. Her parents’ proud expressions stay on their faces as she blows out her birthday candles.
Her dad looks at her happily and pulls a medium-sized box off of the counter behind him. He holds it in front of her as the shiny wrapping paper reflects off of the walls around her. He places the box into her gentle hands and she puts it in her lap. She quickly unwraps the present to reveal a box. She opens the box to be greeted by multi-colored tissue paper. She sticks her hands below the paper and begins pulling at the object with force. The tissue paper flies out and onto the floor while Sammy is left holding a pretty little teddy bear. Sammy feels its soft arms and rubs it against her face. The pink color of her bear’s suit blends in with her rosy cheeks. She looks at her dad and leaps into his arms. The look on her face shows that she thinks that he is the greatest man alive. With one hand he holds his little child while he brushes her curly hair with the other. She begins to climb down but not before giving her daddy a wet kiss on the cheek.
Part Three: Age 6
"When a girl is young one of the most important objectives in her life is to please those that she admires."
Her small feet slide into the golden high heels of her grandmother’s. She starts to stand up but the oversized scarf that is around her neck trips her back to the ground. She grabs onto the door knob that is next to her and pulls herself up. She sets her large black hat straight as she checks out her smeared red lipstick in the mirror on her other side. She wipes off a little from her small white teeth and smiles contently. She slides out the door and onto the hard wooden floor of the hallway. One of her pearl earrings falls off her ear and she bends over to pick it up. In the process of retrieving her earring, she stumbles to the ground with a loud bang. From down the hallway her grandmother appears with a concerned look on her face. Sammy looks up and smiles nervously.
Her grandma greets her with a warm expression, “Are you okay? I heard a loud bang in here.”
Sammy nods and climbs back up to her feet. Her grandpa comes down the hall and joins the party. He has his camera in his hands and he snaps a picture of his beautiful grand daughter. She giggles a high-pitched giggle and starts walking to them. Her grandma turns towards her grandpa.
“Our little Samantha, she is six going on twenty-one,” she laughs.
Sammy stumbles over herself again before planting herself a seat on the floor. Her grandma walks into the kitchen and returns a moment later armed with a pretty purse and a chocolate chip cookie, Sammy’s favorite.
Her grandma holds out the treats, “Here you go, honey, I thought you could use a purse to complete your glamorous outfit… And perhaps a cookie?”
Part 4: Age 11
"A person can find no better companion than that of a loyal dog."
Fifth grade is coming to an end and life is going to change. New teachers, new friends, and a brand new school. However, for every end, there is a new beginning. And what eleven year old girl wouldn’t want to begin with a tiny new puppy? Sammy sits on her mom’s leather couch anticipating the arrival of her parents. She taps her newly polished nails on the table beside her as her grandma enters the room with some orange juice. Grandma, Sammy’s chosen babysitter, joins her on the couch in her exhilarating wait for her parents to get home. Her grandma is able to sense her anxiety.
She begins to speak, “So, when are they supposed to get back?”
As if on queue, the front door opens and Sammy immediately bounces to her feet. She slides across the floor and to the door where her father is holding it open for his wife. Sammy can hardly hold her breath as her mother walks through the door, a small puppy in her arms. Sammy jumps up and her mother sets the puppy down on the floor. He moves around and sniffs Sammy’s hands. Sammy grabs him and squeezes his little gray body in her arms. He slobbers all over her face which brings her great joy. She gleefully kisses him and pets him with a huge smile on her face. He stays in her arms and continues to wag his tail.
“His name will be Happy!” She announces.
She stands up, still holding Happy in her arms. He licks her face and she walks with him into the living room.
Part 5: Age 13
"When one makes a mistake and has to sit on that bench in their cell, a good friend will bail them out. A best friend will be sitting next to them on that bench brainstorming ways to get the lock free."
For a thirteen year old girl, the most important aspect of her life is her best friend. Every teenage girl needs a girlfriend whom will be a friend through anything that may happen. Who else would she have to laugh with, cry with, gossip with, and most of all, shop with?
The doors to the mall open and Sammy, along with her best friend, Audrey, enter. The mall is fairly large but it looks a lot smaller than it did when they were little girls shopping with their mom’s. Sammy’s high lighted brown hair trails behind her as Audrey plays with it.
Audrey stops and looks at Sammy, “Sam! Isn’t that Don Clark?”
Sammy’s eyes dart over to a slim guy who obviously attends middle school with the girls, however, he does look a little bit older than them.
“That is!” Sammy responds.
“Let’s go talk to him!” Audrey suggests.
“No way! I have been like in love with that boy since elementary school!” Sammy responds.
Audrey ignores Sammy’s plea and fixes her hair before starting to walk towards him. Sammy grabs Audrey‘s arm which causes Audrey to turn back towards Sammy.
“Audrey! Be my best friend, please don’t say anything. He is like fourteen years old, he won’t even know who I am!” Sammy pleads.
Audrey holds out her hand for Sammy to shake and she does. Sammy breathes in a sigh of relief.
Audrey smiles at her, “You have my word, Sam.”
They once again smile at each other as they complete their complex secret hand shake.
Part 6: Age 16
"A young person's first real kiss is a phenomenon that is always remembered with a smile. It is the first time that they can really feel their heart beating fast and slow while beautiful butterflies flutter around their stomach."
The lights in the school gymnasium begin to dim as a long trail of curls enters through the double doors. The scenery is perfect like a picture, resembling a beautiful romance scene from a movie. She grabs her date’s hand who walks next to her and they walk over to the tables to find where they are sitting. Seated next to Audrey and her date is a paper cut into the shape of a heart with the names, “Samantha & Don” written on it. He pulls her chair out for her as they both take a seat. Sammy shakes her head and laughs a little as she pictures herself a couple of years ago, only hoping to have Don even notice her. She couldn't have been more excited to be with him at the dance. She really likes Don but she is an insecure sixteen year old girl has no idea if he is really serious about her. She laughs at the thought of anything serious, she's only sixteen. Don grabs Sammy’s hand as the disk jockey announces the last slow song of the evening. Don gets back up to his feet and with a very charming smile, invites her to dance with him.
They walk through the large crowd of high school students but it is as if there is no one else there. They stop towards the middle of the floor as they wrap their arms around each other. Sammy blushes as she feels as if the butterflies in her stomach are going to fly right out. Don smiles at her and she blushes even more. The redness of her cheeks almost blends in perfectly with the metallic red of her dress. The corsage around her wrist nearly slides off as her hands begin to sweat. Although she has known him since they were young and they recently began dating, she feels like she is no longer sixteen but a little child again; so many emotions running through her head all at once. She observes him as he opens his perfect lips to speak to her.
“You know, you look stunning tonight,” he tells her.
With a smile, she replies, “You’re not looking so back yourself.”
“Sammy, I know that we haven’t been together for that long but you’re the first girl that I really care about; I think I love you.”
As if somebody has kicked the back of her legs, she topples into his arms with weak knees. He helps her to gain composure and she giggles softly.
“Are you alright?” He asks her.
“Oh, of course, just caught by surprise; a good one,” she manages to get out.
After a moment, he leans in and kisses her. It’s as if time has frozen in place and they are the only two people left on earth. The lights flashing around the room seem like a magnificent twilight above their bodies. Neither of them would have been able to say what happened next or when the song ended. A first real kiss is hazy and hard to recall yet it is never able to be forgotten.
Part 7: Age 19
"I'd rather have to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission."
Partying, partying, partying and the occasional studying, that is what college life is all about. It’s only her second year away at school but it already seems like she has been there forever. Not only did she leave home but she left mostly everything from her childhood life there with her. Freshman year, she traveled home almost ever weekend to be with her family and her boyfriend of two years at the time, Don. Not this year, however. A new sense of change has come over her and she feels more grown-up than the previous year. Studying has become more important because she hopes to eventually go to law school. Between the few nights of studies and the complete independence at school, she felt that things between Don and herself had no chance of being successful. Throughout the first few months she received a note, poem, or pictures from him every other day. This started to seem childish to Sammy and the idea of complete freedom seemed much more appealing. Although Don didn’t and still doesn’t agree with her, he found that you cannot hold on to a butterfly who needs to fly away.
Now, Sammy’s main concern is not a boyfriend but enjoying the college life. That isn’t to say that there aren’t some gorgeous college guys who come around every once in a while, however. Her life consists of school during the day and a very active social life by night. Even though Sammy’s parents enjoyed her company at home so often, they understand that college is the time for meaningless fun. The phone calls every other day and the short visits home for vacations is sufficient enough for them. She feels that college is the time to make mistakes and to meet people even though she knows that mostly all of it means nothing. She has to enjoy slacking off and partying because after college it is called irresponsibility.
Part 8: Age 21
"When you lose someone that you love, there is an unimaginable abyss of pain in the pit of your stomach. There is no way to ever get over this but to simply get used to it and learn to live without what you once knew."
Unexpectedly, Sammy finds herself back at home a little bit after her 21st birthday. Not under positive circumstances or by choice, however. Sammy’s grandfather who had long been sick has passed away. The cemetery is unpleasant as Sammy wraps her cold arms around her crying mother. Several people walk by the buried casket to say their last goodbyes but through water eyes she notices one man standing there; Don Clark.
Sammy feels as if her astonishment of him being there shows through but she sends him a weak smile as he waves to her and her mother. Sammy cannot help but feel a sense of guilt as his supportive energy passes through her. She knows that he still cares for her but she cannot understand why. He gives her one last wave goodbye and turns around to leave. She begins to walk towards his back to thank him for coming but she stops in her tracks. She shakes her head as she watches him grab the hand of a woman who stands off to the side. How predictable for a man like Don to be taken-- did she actually think that he’d wait around for her forever? Although Sammy is the one who that ended things-- one will be surprised to find how far you can go from the point that you thought it was the end. She cannot even tell what sort of emotion she feels from seeing Don, she just knows it is an abnormal one. Sammy scolds herself for thinking about such selfish things at her grandfather’s funeral.
Her concentration is broken as her grandmother tugs at her sleeve. Sammy’s heart strings are tugged at as tears roll down her grandma’s sad face. Sammy too begins to cry as she gives her grandma a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“He loved you so much, little one,” her grandmother tells her through streams of tears.
Sammy mouths the words, “I know,” to her grandma as she slides by her and heads to the box of roses that sits next to her grandpa’s grave. She still cannot believe that he’s gone and chills run down her spine. People that she has never seen in her life pat her on the back as she walks by. She reaches into the box and pulls out a blood-red rose. She watches her tears sink into the soil below her. She kisses her rose and peers down for a moment before dropping the rose down to her grandpa.
Part 9: Age 25
"True, everlasting love, must be considered a miracle. It is one of the few things that can really live forever, through thousands of lifetimes. One single touch of it causes enchantment in the most average places and that eternal light never burns out."
No matter what, a circle always returns to its beginning. Through the studying, parties, law schools, friends, and simultaneous dates, Sammy finds herself back in her hometown. She is there but not in the situation that she would have assumed she would be in six years ago. Her perfectly symmetrical curls land in unity upon her slender shoulders. The shimmering white tone of her gown causes her the slight resemblance of a fairy tale princess. She places her hand on her stomach, hoping to get rid of the massive butterflies and churning that is taking place. She turns to the side to examine the view and she remains pleased. She cannot put her finger on how she feels because one million different emotions are pumping through her heart. The emotion that outweighs everything, however, is happiness. She couldn’t be happier to officially give her heart away to the one who has always held it; the one who returned to her even when she might not have deserved him, the one who has always loved her. She begins to get tears in her eyes as everything begins to sink in. The whole day seems too perfect to really be happening.
The door to the dressing room opens and her parents enter the room. They look as if they are almost more nervous than she is. As soon as she turns to greet them her father’s hand goes over his mouth in disbelief. He looks at her for another moment and shakes his head.
“What is it, Daddy? Do I have something on my face?” She asks him.
He shakes his head again, “You look so beautiful, perfection.”
She smiles at him and he reaches behind his back and pulls out a box that is wrapped. The wrapping paper reflects off of everything in the room. She looks at him with a confused expression on her face before taking it from him. She sets it down on the table beside her and begins to carefully pull the paper off, avoiding the chipping of her beautifully polished nails. As the paper falls to the ground, a box becomes visible. She opens the box to be greeted by multi-colored tissue paper. She sticks her hands through the paper and pulls out a little fluffy teddy bear. Tears of happiness and childhood memories fill up in her eyes and she wraps her arms around her father. Tears begin to roll down his cheek as well as he holds her in a tight embrace.
“Oh, Daddy, don’t cry,” she says, comforting her father. This is the first time that she has ever really seen him cry. Her mother joins in with loving arms and tears.
“I feel as if I am giving away my only baby girl. I don’t think I could ever have enough time to prepare for that,” he says with a smile.
“Don’t make me cry more, Daddy! My mascara will run! It’s almost time for you to walk me down the aisle!” She exclaims.
“He is a great man, Sammy, you two are so in love,” her mother chimes in.
Her dad laughs, “We knew that it was going to be him all along.”
Sammy responds, "I guess I got lucky. Sometimes people need a second chance because the universe, maybe time, wasn't ready for the first one."
"Don't blame time for the mindframe of a college student, honey," her mother giggles.
The usher comes in the room to tell them that it’s almost time to go down the aisle. Sammy’s expression changes to an anxious one. She sets her veil straight and turns to her parents.
“It’s almost time! Do I look pretty?” She asks frantically.
Sammy’s father hooks arms with her and they walk over to the door that leads to the aisle. They can hear the music of the bridal party finishing up as Sammy reaches to turn the knob.
Her father stops her, “Married or not, you’re always going to be my little girl.”
She nods and gives her father a kiss. The door swings open and the traditional bridal music is being played on the piano. Every person sitting in the seats appear as a blur. Her heart skips about a hundred beats as she peers across the aisle. Unconsciously, a bright smile appears on her face. Everything in her heart seems complete as their eyes meet. She feels like a little girl again as he smiles at her; her first crush, her high school sweetheart, the love of her life, Don Clark.
The short aisle seems as if it goes on forever. She doesn’t want to wait any longer, her entire time growing up led to this time. She feels as if she’s on cloud nine as her dad squeezes her hand and nods at her. She takes one more glance around the room and says to herself, “This is it.” She begins walking down the aisle that leads her to the other half of her heart.
Part 10: Age 28
"It is said that a person can find peace by finally finishing what they have started."
“Push! Push! Come on, keep going, push!” The doctor screams as Sammy squeezes Don’s hand in pain.
Don breathes in and out as Sammy sweats bullets.
“Aghhh!” Sammy belts in agony.
“Come on, just a little more!” Yells the doctor.
“You try having a baby come out of your---”
“Congratulations! It’s a girl!” The doctor happily informs her.
Don hugs her as she sets her head back on the pillow and sighs. A couple of minutes later, the doctor hands the wrapped up baby to Sammy. The most content of smiles spreads across her face as she cradles her newborn girl in her arms. Sammy’s parents enter the room and slide through the doctors and to their own baby girl. They smile at the sight of their first grandchild. The baby calmly closes her eyes in Sammy’s arms. Sammy cries tears of utter and complete joy. She gently gives her child a kiss on the forehead.
The baby opens her eyes again and peers around the hospital room. Finally, she looks up at her mother with large hazel eyes.
Sammy’s hand goes to her own cheek in excitement, “Look! She has my eyes!”
Part 11: Age 35
"There will always be at least one person in your life who leaves engraved footprints in your heart that no snow could ever cover."
Sammy’s little girl has begun school full-time which leaves her with a little bit of extra time during the days. Although her work as a lawyer is beginning to kick off, she needs a little time to ease her mind. On the side, she volunteers at the wonderful retirement home in which her grandmother lived in for a year before her death. She basically walks around to various rooms to keep the old folks company. Everyone is extremely nice to her but there is one old lady in particular whom she makes it her personal duty to visit every chance that she gets. This woman is Nadine Herman. The nurses and the rest of the staff are not Nadine’s biggest fans. Nadine’s husband died ten years back but she still speaks of it as if it were the day before. He was not only her husband but her partner in everything; in life. Sammy is able to relate to that sort of relationship and is empathetic to Nadine’s loss.
After Nadine’s husband perished, her two children moved away to Los Angeles and the only time she even hears their names is when the nurses inform her that her bill for staying there has been paid. The nurses try to tell Nadine that she should be thankful that her children do that much for her but Sammy knows that Nadine would much rather have their time instead of their money. Naturally, being alone can make a person pretty miserable.
Nadine loves caramel corn because her beloved husband used to bring caramel corn home for the two of them to eat while they watched movies together on a Saturday night. So, every other day when Sammy goes to visit Nadine, she brings two bags of caramel corn and two coffee’s to have while the two of them talk.
Sammy walks into Nadine’s room, armed with her usual caramel corn and coffee, and sits next to Nadine’s large arm chair. Today, Nadine’s eyes look just a little bit more sad than usual. Sammy can sense this the moment that she looks at her face. Sammy places her hand upon Nadine’s small hand.
“How are you doing today, beautiful?” Sammy asks her.
“Oh, dear, I am fine, just fine,” Nadine answers weakly.
Sammy is silent for a moment before noticing a tear streaming down Nadine’s wrinkled face and a look of the most unimaginable pain.
“Thank you, Samantha, for coming to visit a boring old lady like myself as often as you do,” she smiles.
“Nadine, the stories, your life, that you have shared with me have touched my heart. You are a wonderful woman who has lived an extraordinary life,” Sammy explains.
“You know, the most painful losses are the one’s that die inside of you while you are still alive. Those losses never stop tormenting my heart. I didn’t get to spend enough time with him,” she says sadly.
“There’s never enough time. Nothing lasts long enough, that’s why you have to treasure the moments in each day. Nonetheless, you have lived an amazing life, much more extraordinary than my own, I must say. Mine hasn’t consisted of walking on the moon or saving the world,” Sammy laughs.
Nadine shakes her head in a disciplining sort of way, “You are young and beautiful. Don’t you cut yourself short-- your life has been far more extraordinary than any moon-walker’s or super heroes-- you have experienced what it is like to love and to be so deeply loved in return. Every day, you show your daughter the sort of love that any human could only hope to experience in their entire lives. If you do not find that extraordinary, then you are not as wise as I thought you were,” she pauses for a moment, “You know what, let me tell you something, young lady, super heroes are lonely. They long for what you have. Treasure it every single day for the rest of your life until you no longer can. You don’t want to live so that one morning you awaken and you only have a memory to treasure because your reality is no longer so perfect. The world has a way of taking the most precious things away from us without giving us a chance to even realize what we have lost,” she takes another breath, “Please, if a senile old lady can give you one piece of advice, it is this-- kiss your loved one’s every chance that you get, hug them so that you are the last one to let go, and love them with every last beat of your golden heart without holding back for even one minute-- and most of all, don’t ever let them wonder for one minute just how much they mean to you. Let them know how close to your heart they are, every chance that you get. You don’t want to wait until the only time you are able to see them is in your heart with a lasting image of what you can no longer touch, love, and feel.”
Sammy is frozen. Nobody, in all of her thirty-five years of being alive, has ever given her advice that was more valuable than the words that were just said to her in the last two minutes. Sammy squeezes Nadine’s hand and smiles-- for what an extraordinary life she has lived so far.
Part 12: Age 57
"Grandma's are the ones who take delight in the simple requests of their young."
“And they lived happily ever after,” Sammy finishes as her four year old grand daughter, Deana, rests her head on the pillow beneath her. Sammy and Don love it when Deana sleeps over at their homely little place. Deana is an adorable little girl who will make much of herself one day.
“Grandma, when is Mama going to have the new baby?” Deana asks as she covers her little mouth to yawn.
Sammy tucks Deana under the covers, “Any time now, Precious,” she replies.
“Am I going to have to give up my bed for the baby?”
Sammy laughs, “No, Sweetie, I don’t think so. You know, though, you always do have a bed here.”
“Yeah, you and Grandpa allow me to eat more chocolate chip cookies than Mommy and Dad do. You know, Grandma, your chocolate chip cookies are my favorite,” Deana informs her.
“That’s very funny because when I was a little girl, my grandma’s cookies were my favorite too. It’s actually the same recipe,” Sammy reminisces about her little girlhood.
“Maybe my grand daughter one day will love them too,” Deana ponders.
Sammy nods, “That’s a very strong possibility, I will let your borrow the recipe. For now, though, you need to get some sleep.”
Deana understands, “Okay, Grandma, I will go to bed but since for now on the baby is probably going to have to spend time with us too, do you think that I can have a cookie first?”
Sammy thinks for a minute, “Well, as long as you don’t tell anybody, because, you know, I cannot be giving cookies to just anyone.”
Deana smiles at her grandmother and Sammy lifts her out of bed and heads to the kitchen.
Part 13: Age 88
"It is a beautiful thing when we open our hearts enough to allow others to complete us."
She lies on a big old bed in the comfort of her cozy room. She doesn’t look so well physically, as her days of youth are well past overdue. However, beneath the wrinkles of her skin and hair of white-- there’s a young woman-- a young woman who has very happy eyes. She still maintains one of the most cheerful of smiles. The door of her bedroom opens and the seed of the beat in her heart enters the room. She sits up and he walks to her and grabs her feeble old hands. He looks at the wedding ring that remains on her left hand. A sense of warmth enters both of their hearts.
“You know,” Don begins, “You are just as perfect now as you were the day that we said I do. There will never be a time, not even in a thousand lifetimes from now, that you won’t be in my heart.”
He smiles at his wife and she leans her head up. He kisses her aged lips. What he says is true, no matter what had occurred throughout the long time that they’ve been together, their love has remained divine. Although she may have aged, she may be older, he still thinks that she is the single most beautiful woman in existence. It is a love that is not normal, the sort of love that doesn’t occur in the average life. It’s a love in which as time passes by, it continues to flourish like the never ending blooming of a very unique flower.
Little footsteps are heard outside of the bedroom which diverts their attention to the door. Two little children enter the bedroom. These are their great grandchildren; their daughter’s, first child’s, children. The children giggle and run over to their great grandparents. Don climbs on the other side of the bed and sits next to his wife. The little child can hardly reach the edge of the bed so he looks up at his great grandma and his sister joins in.
“Happy birthday, Grandma!” The little boy says cheerily.
“Happy birthday, Grandma!” His sister repeats.
The rest of the family enters the room. The sight of so many different generations is unbelievable. Behind everyone, is Sammy’s only daughter. In her hands she holds a big rectangular birthday cake. The message on it reads, “Happy Birthday: Sammy, Mom, Grandma, Great Grandma” each title under the other. Sammy’s eyes light up and for one single moment, her eyes resemble her faded youth. As everybody begins to sing “Happy Birthday” the family dog enters the room. Everybody laughs and sings happily as the dog’s bark echoes throughout the house. As the cake gets eaten happily, the children begin to clear out and play. The other adults start to clean up while Don and Sammy remain sitting on the bed. Don once again grabs Sammy’s hands.
“Don, I do not regret a single day of my entire life,” Sammy says.
Don smiles at his wife, “I should hope not, Sammy, your life has been extraordinary.”
She smiles back at him, “It has, hasn’t it?”
It must always be remembered that the most wonderful thing in life, the thing that makes a normal person extraordinary is love; the unity, the glowing depth, the happiness that only increases with age. the love between two humans that grows more glorious and more desirable as it gets older. It is the sort of love that creates life, that feels as if it is still the beginning even at the very end. It is the sort of love that allows another person to complete you.
The most precious aspect of life cannot be seen or touched, yet you have to be so gentle with it because it is so delicate and can be broken. True love, may it be romantic love or not, it cannot be described with words because to completely understand it, you must believe in magic; true love cannot be asked for or wished for, it sort of just happens as a superhuman coincidence, a deific accident-- that changes a person’s life forever.