By Carly Rae
People often throw the word "fate" around in conversation like, "It was fate that I didn't have my meeting today," or "It must be fate that I missed the bus."
Well, to me fate has a far more significant meaning.
It all started the summer after I graduated from university. I had just put on my uniform to complete my last shift of waitressing at the local pub that I had been working at for the last two months. I was saving up for my big trip to Europe. As I swept my hair into a tight ponytail for the finishing touches an old high school friend, Sarah bounded into my bedroom with her little Chihuahua puppy under her arm.
"What are you doing?" she said, sounding completely in shock. "You cannot possibly be thinking about working tonight when you are flying overseas in two days!"
"I need the money for my trip," I answered honestly.
"There is a huge party at the lake tonight and you have to go! Everyone will be there! You can't miss it!
"I have to start my shift in 30 minutes," I explained.
"Call in sick now or I will do it for you!" she demanded.
As if to labour the point her puppy barked in agreement.
It was at that moment that I made a decision that would change the course of my life forever. I listened to Sarah's advice and went to the party, but most significantly it was also supported by a gut feeling that was telling me to go.
At the end of the evening, as I was leaving, a boy I knew from high school sat down beside me and said, "Hey Carly, I heard that you are heading off to London in 2 days. I just got back yesterday from there. I had an amazing time!"
"I can't wait!" I couldn't hold in my excitement.
"I also heard you are travelling alone. You should really know someone, just in case something happens. I will give you the details of a friend I stayed with over there. His name is Simon. He is extremely trustworthy and knows everyone. Call him if you ever get into any trouble or you just need some friends to hang out with. He is a good guy. London isn't like this town. It is busy and unfriendly. You may need some contacts over there."
He wrote down the details on a torn off piece of cigarette package he got off a teenager sitting beside us while we were chatting. I took the number to be polite with no intention of ever calling a random "Simon". I tucked the ripped paper in my address book and didn't think about it again.
Weeks passed and I had settled into London-life very well. I found teaching work immediately and I had a place organised the day I arrived. I was making friends everywhere, as it had always been one of my strengths growing up. Life was good, and the money was flowing. I was appreciating every day of being on my own and soaking up life in a foreign city.
I was doing casual teaching at a London school and the place I was staying at had a small second bedroom, which I was using as an office. The only downfall was that the room had no desk, so I had my books around me on the floor, planning my week ahead with my Year 3 class. I lazily reached up towards the cheap, Ikea shelf above my head to pull down a book and without warning, the whole shelf collapsed around me. All my school books slid off and fell everywhere on the floor. The odd thing was that although I was surrounded by total and utter chaos nothing fell on my lap except for one little torn off piece of paper with "Simon" written on it along with his details. Think what you will, but that was the moment I began believing in fate.
This time I didn't need a pushy friend to coax me into action. I called Simon and we hit it off instantly, speaking for hours on the phone with ease. I felt like I had known him for years, lifetimes even.
When I had made big plans to go overseas and teach there was no future husband in my plan, but I am so happy that fate took the wheel. We were engaged within 6 months and married very shortly after. It didn't matter that he was from Australia and I was from Canada and we were living in England. Logistics were not important because it all felt so right and so easy. We are still together 15 years later, and it still feels like it was meant to be.
We have three beautiful girls as a result. I always tell them that if something feels right, it probably is and to always look for signs to confirm it. Yes, fate is real, so be open to it, even if it presents itself in the form of a torn piece of paper.