I remember watching the movie Sliding Doors and being fascinated by the concept of “what if.” As the metal train doors shut on Gwyneth Paltrows’ face, I wondered if something as seemingly insignificant as snoozing for an extra five minutes or strolling down the block instead of catching the M3 bus could change the course of my life, indefinitely and immeasurably. What if I had never slept over Kurt’s dorm room that one night in college? I pondered as Gwyneth’s life unfolded on split screen. Kelvin, my fine, college friend who was head over heals for me, would have never witnessed me walking down the stairs side by side with Kurt early in the morning. He would have never glanced over at me in that moment, eyes filled with shock and sadness. I would have never lost his trust and he would have never rejected me two years later. We could have been something. Or could we?
I asked myself a series of similar questions after deciding to go away with Mr. G. I didn’t want to miss out on what could be a life-altering, romantic opportunity, but would it be worth it? Would this devastate me or liberate me? Would the time spent motivate Mr. G to leave his girlfriend or would it motivate him to have his cake and eat it too? I didn’t know, which is why on the day of our trip, I was unsure of what to do or even what to pack. Mr. G told me he’d call after picking up his new car and then we’d be on our way. I stared at my empty, rolling black suitcase and back at the clock. It was 3pm. We’d be there that night and return the next day in the evening. I pulled open my top drawer, filled to the brim with matching underwear. Selecting non-sexy undergarments was pretty much impossible. Instantly, I slammed the drawer shut. What am I doing? I thought, frantically. Am I really going to go away with him and sleep in a separate bedroom as we previously discussed? I plopped myself down on my bed. It was decision-making time. I wanted to go, yes, but I needed to be honest with myself about what may happen. Suddenly, my phone sang its Bach inspired, classical tune. Mr. G’s name shone bright and a just-as-bright smile spread across my face. I picked up and greeted him “Hello.”
“I’m so frustrated right now,” Mr. G answered. “I’m already packed but my car isn’t ready,” he continued. The corners of my lips dropped, creating a slight frown.
“So what now?” I asked, trying to sound nonchalant.
“I’m talking to the car salesman. It might be ready in a few hours, but I don’t know…” His sullen voice trailed and I sat down on the floor. My hand rested on my still empty suitcase.
“My old car won’t make it…” Mr. G continued. He sighed and sounded defeated. Zip. Suitcase now closed. He didn’t have to say any more.
“So I guess we’ll play it by ear,” I replied glumly.
“I’ll call you back when I know more…I really want to go…” Mr. G finished.
“I know,” I responded. It was all I could say. I didn’t want to pretend I believed in the car salesman word. I so badly wanted the trip to happen, so Mr. G and I could connect and continue building on what began with that one kiss. But I knew this door was closing.
And just like that – it did. An hour later Mr. G reported he was still without his car and the weekend trip was officially canceled. Till this day I catch myself wondering “what if?” Wondering what changes would have occurred. Wondering how things would have progressed between Mr. G and I if we had gone away that night. Then I remember what happened at the end of Sliding Doors. Gwyneth Paltrow’s character ends up in the hospital, loosing her child, in both scenarios. It didn’t matter if she’d caught that train – that one outcome was certain because it was indeed her destiny. And with that my anxious thoughts settle. With that I realize that what will be will be and there is no need for “what if’s”.