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It wasn’t an ordinary day, by all means, because it was Carissa’s 29th birthday and her last weekend with us here in Manila before she flies back to New York. But the gathering seemed low-key enough—just family and a handful of friends—without any indications that something BIG (and yet ordinary in other people’s eyes) was about to happen.
I was seated next to a pretty, charming-looking lady who was introduced to me as Joy. The initial conversation was standard fare—about what we did, where we worked, and so on. I soon found out that I knew her husband through work, and her brother-in-law through school. I immediately felt a connection with her because, like me, she was an entrepreneur. And, like me, she was in the process of writing a book, guided by Carissa’s gentle prodding. We were off to a good start.
As soon as dinner was over and we were getting ready to move up to Carissa’s pad, we were joined by another lady whom Carissa insisted Joy had to meet. Tricia seemed just a few years older than us, looking very amiable and sophisticated in the way she carried herself, then she and Carissa discovered that they might even be cousins! Synchronicity was getting a good head start, and we soon found ourselves saying goodbye to Carissa’s family and heading up for more private girl talk.
The next few hours seemed more like a gathering of old girlfriends than of strangers who had met just a few hours earlier. Apparently, Joy had met Carissa only the day before the party, and then Tricia and Carissa had met only the week before that, but both of them had already felt a kinship with this amazing lady who had brought us all together that night. And as the conversation flowed and intimate details revealed—a few hours later, aided by some delicious wine from Cav—we were all awestruck by the fact that each of us was searching for clues to our own truths—truths that someone else in the group was already living out.
Two girls wanted to write a book; another already had. Two girls wanted to get married someday; two already had. One girl was considering adopting a child; one was in the process of finalizing hers. One girl wanted a house of her own; another had just finished building hers and paying off the loan. One girl wondered about the emotional bond between an adoptive parent and a child; another was reminded of her adoptive parent’s love and wanted to be reconciled. By the end of the evening, we all had our respective “assignments” and we promised to check up on each other’s progress.
We realized last night that, sometimes, the thing that seems far-fetched and challenging for you is the thing that seems ordinary to and taken-for-granted by the other. You see the other as a reminder that nothing is impossible. You, in turn, become living proof of how wishes can come true.
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As I write this, I replay the evening’s events in my mind as if I were watching some fully-scripted Hollywood chick flick. Four girls meet each other at a party, not knowing that Fate had brought them together as part of their search for truth and love. They enter the experience as strangers; they emerge from it soul sisters ("soul sistahs") who know that, somehow, life will never be the same after that night. One will become a mother (“motha”). One will become an author (“autha”). One will become a lover (“lovah”). Another will become a changemaker (“changemakah”). Each will remember that night and the promises that it brought, remembering that, indeed, "when you truly want something, the Universe will conspire to make it happen."
(Ah, Mr. Coelho would be proud...)