Editor’s Note: Asked and Answered is a work of fiction that originally appeared hereÂ except it didn’t include the photo above. I thought it would be interesting to include it here with a comment about the power of pictures and their influence on the reader. I mulled over what type of picture would have the most impact.
Should a story about two people use a Marc Chagall painting to set the mood? Would it be more powerful to include a photo of a galaxy, stars or a comet shooting across the sky?
Without officially testing the various photos alongside the story there is no way to measure the influence and or impact.
What we know for certain is that within the online world if you want to increase the odds of a post/story/article being shared one of the best ways to do so is to include a photo.
Don’t ask me to tell you which plugin you should use for sharing because that is a blog post in itself.
And now on to Asked and Answered where you won’t believe what happened next and will be dying to know the answer to more than a few questions.
He asked the universe to give him a sign and it did but it wasn’t clear to him if it was coincidence or something more. He struggled with it and when he saw another he struggled with that one too and so it went with the four or five he noticed.
There might have been others that he missed but there wasn’t any way to tell for certain because you can’t call the universe and ask it to rewind or replay recent events in the same fashion as you would rewind a movie. If life were a movie it would have made his own easier because he would have taken care of his uncertainty by fast forwarding to the end where he would find out if he saved the day, got the girl and became the hero,
Since he couldn’t rewind or fast forward his life he thought about those initial signs and figured they could be coincidence. They could have been things that were always there and he noticed them because he saw what he wanted to see. That sort of thing probably happened all the time, people dream of things they want and then find reasons to believe that they were granted them by divine providence.
So he shrugged his shoulders, rolled his eyes and looked skyward, “hey universe I need something more specific, be direct with me.”
There was no response from above, no voice from a burning bush, no lightning and no thunder and again he resumed his work. Several hours later he poured a cup of coffee, sat down on his couch and turned on the television. What he saw on the screen stopped him in Â his tracks.
“I’ll be damned, hell if that isn’t the universe being direct with me then I don’t know what is.”
He put the coffee mug on the floor, grabbed his phone and got ready to call the girl that stole his heart. They hadn’t spoken in a while. She had told him it was through and said he should move on with is life.
Since she was prone to making proclamations about what they should or shouldn’t do he didn’t argue with her. He didn’t tell her that he didn’t buy it or ask her how she would feel if he were to marry another woman. Didn’t fight because he didn’t see an upside to trying to convince her to hang on when she wasn’t up for it.
Long distance was hard and he had at least a year to go before he would be moving back so he figured he might as well wait until they were in the same city again.
It wasn’t a ridiculous plan. Wasn’t something illogical or without merit, made sense to him to give her time and space. Made sense to build some distance to let her miss him a little bit.
She knew how to reach him, knew if she needed help he would always answer.
Sometimes that bothered him a little bit, made him wonder if she took him for granted, made him wonder if his being so steady in his love for her that she knew he wouldn’t just walk.
Most of the time he just didn’t care because we all play our roles and the truth was they were real partners. They didn’t just love each other, they liked each other. And he knew that there was no one she trusted more than him and that distance wreaked havoc upon her ability to give herself to him.
One of the most consistent themes of their relationship had been bad timing. One thing or another always seemed to make it appear near impossible to make it work or so it sometimes seemed to them.
Faith was another theme, not the religious sort but the kind that just believes that somehow you’ll find a way to overcome the challenges you encounter.
It made him smile to think about that. He remembered a conversation with her. She had complained that he had turned into her a fantasy that could never be fulfilled.
“It makes me nervous that you have built me up the way you have. I am not that special.”
“No, you are not. I am very aware of your flaws.”
She hadn’t been fishing for compliments but she hadn’t asked to be insulted either. “Fuck you! That is so rude!”
“Sweetheart, I don’t just love you, I fucking you love you. I love you more because you are real and you are flawed and some am I. It is not that big a deal. I love you for you and that means I accept you as you are.”
Her eyes narrowed, “I don’t know if I am supposed to hit you or make love to you now. I hate when you do that.”
He kissed her and felt her body relax and whispered in her ear, “believe in us because we always figure it out.”
That conversation was months and months ago. He had felt her slipping away long before she had but because he had anticipated it he had done what he had could to smooth the way for something down the road.
The biggest challenge of falling in love with your best friend lies in what happens when you feel like you really need them but they need space.
Managing that space was another one of their themes. When they took it they never went all that long before they began to reach out and look for each other.
That was what had led to his asking the universe for a sign. He had flippantly challenged it, “hey universe, my gut says she and I will end up together and ride happily into the sunset. Why don’t you give me a sign confirming that it is not gas I feel and I’ll leave you alone. Really, just tell me I am correct and I will wait for it to happen.”
He didn’t hear thunder, see lightning and there were no heavenly voices so he told himself to stop playing the fool and went about his business.
Three days later was when he started noticing what could be signs. Three days later he noticed a bunch throughout the day and then struggled with the idea that it could be more than coincidence.
When he turned on the television and saw Walk The Line playing that got his attention. It was their movie.
He had turned it on during the tour bus scene when Johnny asks June to marry him and she tells him off. He says it is time and she tells him “with 100% certainty it is not and it is not even a quarter to the right time.
Telephone in hand he debated whether to call or text his girl to let her know the movie was on. He was in the middle of dialing her when he decided against it.
“Hell, she won’t buy into it. She’ll call it coincidence and make some crack about me not understanding science and then I’ll have to remind her I know all about it. I got A’s in all of my science classes and I enjoy reading about science. I’ll be damned if I am going to have some dumb argument about it. One kiss from me and she’ll be wound up and then we can talk pheromones, hormones, science and why we are in bed again.”
Muttering to himself he put down the phone and smiled. “It is a good thing I love her because I don’t ever stay irritated with her, I hate that.”
When he grabbed the coffee off of the floor he thought some more about signs and when he heard a voice say asked and answered he wasn’t startled. He just nodded his head and smiled.
Their time was coming, he could be patient.