How Did He Ever Find You? – short story

The Manhattan hairdresser asked with genuine intrigue, “Darling, how did your husband ever find you in Australia?” Amy could see that he was envisaging Arthur setting off from the United States on a quest to find his wife-to-be and, against all odds, finding her amongst the wild kangaroos of outback Australia. There was more than a little truth in it.

Arthur was everything that Amy was not: sophisticated, wealthy, and worldly-wise. If it had not been for Arthur’s mid-life crisis and a conscientious effort at finding a meaningful path, neither would ever have come into contact with the other. After significant professional success and a few failed marriages, Arthur decided that a move to Australia would help him find a new direction in life. He was serious in his quest. A quick and sharp intelligence guaranteed that he read every trailblazing book that might contribute to the task at hand. After befriending young Amy at a spiritual meeting, he found that they shared a love of deep thinking and literature.

Amy’s first visit to Arthur’s apartment was pivotal; not that it was a passionate love affair. It was more of a love affair with his books. As Amy walked into the lavish hallway, she stopped in her tracks. Rows of beautiful books lined the walls. It only took a moment for her to realise that all the books she had ever wanted to read were right there waiting for her with outstretched hands. It was true bliss. The time-honoured wisdom of Buddha, Lao-Tzu, St. Francis of Assisi, Ramakrishna, and Meister Eckhart; the founding psychologists Freud, Jung, Maslow, and Erickson; the new thought of Mary Baker Eddy, Blavatsky, Rudolph Steiner, and Ernest Holmes; the inspiration of Kahlil Gibran, C.S. Lewis, and Edgar Cayce; the transpersonal psychology of Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Ken Wilber, and Thomas Hora; the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and other sacred texts. The door had been grandly opened and it was irresistible and undeniable.

When Amy was a young teenager, she would often go into the bookshop next to the train station on the way home from school. She didn’t have enough money to buy even one book in all the time she went there. She told herself patiently that one day she would have money to buy hundreds of books. She decided which ones she would buy and then walked out the door. The shop assistants would smile kindly at her and wonder what a girl her age was thinking amongst the books. Before the internet, books meant knowledge and Amy knew that knowledge could be turned into wisdom.

Amy felt she had found a spiritual and intellectual soul mate in Arthur. She was not interested in his money. In fact, she felt that a lot of money was very alienating. Once, her aunt casually but poignantly said, “It is generally not first generation rich people who have the problem. They can usually remember where they came from. It is the second generation.” She did not say what the problem was but the words spoilt, delusional, and obnoxious sprang to mind. Regardless, the money did bring to Amy many experiences which otherwise would have been totally inaccessible.

The relationship turned Amy into a woman. Pre-marriage, she knew nothing of music, the arts, or the world at large. It gave her a new language; a more sophisticated way of speaking. It gave her an experience of wealth so that she knew it would never be necessary to feel less than anyone and God help her if she ever thought anyone less than her. She could handle money if it came her way and not chase it if it did not. She lived in a world much older than herself and it made her older than her years. Yet, after its completion, she found that, unlike her younger years when she craved the friendship of older people, she now enjoyed the company of younger people. She knew their limitations but did not need them to be more than they were.

For his part, Arthur felt he had found in Amy a real chance to have a loving family. Kind, nurturing, and intelligent, she was a true find. As she was young, she had little baggage from life and he believed that together they could start from scratch and create the family life he longed for.

Amy found Arthur at the right moment in his life. Previously knocked down by life, he was up again with renewed perspective and enthusiasm. Amy did not realise that it was but a moment in time for Arthur and a long way from being sustainable. As life would have it, Arthur’s mid-life improvement lasted, at the most, a few years. Perhaps, it would be found again another time. Found once, it is never as difficult to refind. However, it would not be found with Amy by his side. The relationship had a rather long, drawn out, and lonely demise. It gave its blessings but it was more of a blessing when it was over.

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