The room lit up when she smiled and I was astounded by her beauty. But we never met again and I never saw that smile.

Our eyes met at a conference as we rolled them in exasperation of the speaker. Grins were exchanged and we were the best of friends for an evening. The evening faded and so did our camaraderie.

Sparks flew when we shook hands for the first time. But we were colleagues and we remained just that.

The world disappeared when we lost ourselves in conversation. But when I hung up the phone it came back and refused to leave.

The room sizzled with tension every time he and I met. Every day the tension grew but neither of us spoke of it. Soon the time came when we would never meet again and we didn’t.

He had the sweetest smile when he offered to help me carry the groceries. We reached my place and said goodbye.

As a child, words such as destiny, hope and fate hold the promise of something magical that would manifest as you age. Growing up with a strong belief in these words, I also immediately believe that there is a much more sinister reason for everything that happens in life. That every incident happens for a reason. That every person you meet was destined to be at that place at that time to teach you something. Good or bad, this person will leave a mark on you. For sure!

To me then, it is highly impossible to accept the fact that some encounters are and will remain just that, encounters. Accidental but inconsequential. Nothing life altering is going to come of them, no matter how serendipitous they may seem at that moment. There are so many but alas, they are too short to be fairytales.

Then pray tell how friendships that do last come about? Certainly not with sparks and flames. Those veterans of the world of relationships eventually fizzle out. The earth shattering alterations that we hope for in life need much more. They need courage and effort. These will help wipe away the mysterious fog that paints people as glittery, unapproachable mystics. Forgive my choice of words, but that’s how these encounters feel. Like you met someone out of a dream and had a good time, but soon even their faces fade from memory.

As with a dream what you made of them may not always be who they are. When the fog lifts, that’s when you really get to know a person. And if the flames are still there after the mystery is gone, that’s when you know it’s a friendship that will last.