Outside our apartment there is a river, and along forty feet of it there is a wooden walkway. Next to the wooden walkway is a little ditch, and in the ditch there are fifteen evenly spaced jets. These jets, on the days that they are functioning, shoot water in an arc over the wooden walkway and into an oblong pool on the other side. The jets create a staccato tunnel, the imaginary ceiling of which is high enough that a person can walk along the wooden walkway without any worry of getting wet. It is an excellent place to take pictures.
Cesia took my picture under an arc of water on the wooden walkway outside our apartment. At the time, it was not our apartment. At the time, we didn’t notice the building across the river because we had no reason to. It was the 18th of February 2016, nine months and four days before I would propose to Cesia.
Since moving in to our apartment I have looked out the window a hundred times and seen people playing in the water feature on the wooden walkway. They use their hands to redirect the water, splashing their friends. Parents hold the hands of toddlers who want to investigate the strange way the water moves. On windy days, or days where the water pressure is weak, people run and duck and dodge the jets, like they’re avoiding laser beams guarding a bank vault. A lot of people take pictures exactly like the one Cesia took of me.
There is absolutely no meaning in this coincidence. We didn’t look at the building, back in February 2016, and determine to make this place ours. We didn’t decide, in May 2017, to live in a place that had any particular significance to us. Like almost everything, it just sort of happened.
Cesia just happened to attend a university thousands of miles away from her home. The university just happened to be in the city I was in. We just happened to be using Tinder at the same time. We just happened to be available the next day to get coffee. And so on.
The coincidence of us taking a photo outside the building we would later move in to, is nothing compared to the coincidence of us meeting and forming a relationship in the first place. Or it isn’t a coincidence. We have both had to be patient when an ocean separated us, and take professional and educational risks to prioritise our relationship. And so on.
It might be a coincidence, it might not. There might be meaning in these events, and maybe not. But either way, I don’t care. I’m just glad it happened.