Meeting Strangers: How A Stranger Became My Husband
Daily Origami is a way for us to record our off the cuff thoughts, feelings and observations about the world around us. Published every weekday, Monday through Friday.
One morning in late December 2008, I burst into the university cafeteria in Kyoto, and started looking frantically for my USB stick, the one which contained the only copy of my East Asian studies term paper. The paper was due that very day. It was worth 50% of my grade.
Right before I went into full-on panic mode, I noticed a familiar figure sitting alone by the window - a classmate from the class I was about to flunk. He was eating a light breakfast, reading a book, and (smugly, I thought) sipping a cup of tea. He had his term paper printed out and it was sitting in a manila folder on the table. He seemed like he didn’t have a care in the world. Cautiously, I walked up to him, looking for an empathetic ear.
Me: Hey, you're in East Asian Studies with me, right?
Him (looks up): Oh, yeah. Hi.
He knew who I was. I was one of only seven people in that class. I was the slacker who always came in late and hungover, and would promptly fall asleep five minutes into the lecture. I also had a strange feeling that this guy didn’t really like me.
Me: So, what are you up to?
Him: Eating breakfast. Reading a book.
[Another awkward pause]
Me: Oh, ha. Yeah, I can see that.
He looked pained as we spoke - I could tell he felt obligated to reciprocate my friendliness.
Editor’s Note: I don’t care if you’re Scarlett Johansson, if you interrupt me when I'm reading, I’m 100% going to be short and unresponsive.
Him: So, what are you doing here so early? Class doesn’t start for another hour.
Me: I lost my USB stick. It had my term paper on it.
Him: That’s too bad. Good news is, you still got time to bike home and get another copy.
Me: I don’t have another copy. That was my only copy.
Him: What? What about your laptop? Email?
Me: I used the school computer to write it up.
He paused, almost in disbelief.
Him: That sucks...I don't know what else to say. Most people would've saved another copy.
Him (getting up): Well, I better get going. Hope you end up finding it.
I never did find that USB stick. Nor did I find the empathy I needed in that moment. In the end, I had to write the entire paper from scratch that day and turned it in later that afternoon. It was complete gibberish and my final grade reflected it.
But I did manage to find my husband that morning - even though neither of us knew it at the time.