An Improbable Love

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A man is approaching me from the East. He sits on the bench to my left. I can feel that he glances at me momentarily but then removes his attention.

I am glad. I have no need for chit chat.

He removes a sandwich from a paper sack he is carrying. “This is a sandwich,” he says to himself and sets the bologna on rye next to himself on the bench.

I look up startled.

He continues “This sandwich has a location at approximately….” He looks at his GPS system and then back to the sandwich “…41.83 degrees north and 87.89 degrees west.”

I start to stand up and move away but maybe it’s the sandwich that keeps me there.
The man removes his jacket. It is a rather warm day I consider feeling a bit sorry for the man.

“This is my jacket,” he continues. “I bought this jacket in Seattle, Washington and now it’s in the same location as my sandwich.

I am not staring at the man, but now I feel as if I am.

I begin to say something but then stop myself after I’ve uttered one awkward syllable that he doesn’t seem to notice.

“I slapped my girlfriend’s face once,” he says. “That much is a fact. At the moment when I slapped her face we were located at 32.77 degrees north and 96.82 degrees west. I felt bad about slapping her.”

I stand up to walk away. The man addresses me, “I’m sorry….did you want to ask me something?”

I keep walking but then stop. He seems harmless. He feels harmless. I can’t help but smile wryly as I stop and turn around, “Well…yes…..for….well…for example, why you are talking to yourself about coordinates, your sandwich, and your transgressions.”

Maybe I’m getting too cheeky I think to myself.

“I’m a philosopher…” he says and I begin to nod as if his strange behavior already makes sense to me. He adds, “I am also a scientist.” He continues “and a comedian of sorts.”

“A difficult combination to balance,” I say.

“I am studying reality and locality as well as improbable movements.”

“Was hitting your wife improbable?” I ask almost smugly.

“No, that was probable. I let myself hide too much and I’m not much for relationships.”

“And your sandwich and jacket……are you testing their localities?”

“Yes, and reminding myself aloud that they are real and local to me.”

“Where do the improbable movements fit in?” I ask.

The man stood up, walked around the bench, reached down and lifted his sandwich to his mouth, took a bite, chewed it rather slowly in my opinion, popped a breath mint in his mouth, savored it and then began crossing the lawn toward me. I started to back away but didn’t. His strange behavior was fascinating. He lay on the grass next to my feet and wrapped his arms around them.

“There you have it.”

“What?” I ask knowing what it was but wanting to hear him speak with his face so near the ground.

“Improbable movement.”

“Are you sure it’s improbable?” I ask. “It seems probable for the side of you that is a comedian.”

“But it’s not probable for humankind…’s merely an average.” He stands back up. Now we are both standing and looking at each other. I am looking at him in amazement and he is looking at me as if this sort of improbable movement happened for him on a predictable basis.

I reach out to touch him. I want to say out loud that he is a man who exists and yell out his exact coordinates but instead I reach out and grab his shoulders. He is surprised. I pull him forward to me and we kiss. I am as stunned as he is. In fact, when we’re done with the affectionate gesture the proximity of his face frightens me, but I remember what it feels like to be calm, and without realizing I’m going to say it I blurt out, “Let’s get married. I’ll be your nth wife and it will be the most improbable action we’ve ever created.”

He looked at me and seemed to rationally ponder the idea. The left corner of his mouth then curled into an unexpected smile. “Quite brilliant,” he says.

“It might considerably alter your average,” I add as if to offer him an old-fashioned dowry “….like an outlier if you will,” I say and then kiss him again.

Suddenly we are standing in a courthouse. The judge is unfamiliar to either of us. I look around. I am in a new dress….not a traditional wedding dress, but a royal blue affair that will still get us from single to mingled. My future husband, whose name I still don’t know, is in a suit. The suit is normal enough and I notice that he is wearing the jacket….the same jacket that he had situated in the park at 41.83 degrees north and 87.89 degrees west.

“Your jacket’s locality has changed,” I say.

“But our sentiments have apparently stayed put,” he comments as amazed as I am.
We heard a judge somewhere near us in the midst of murmuring judge-like words and then, suddenly, we are a married couple.

“Shall we get an annulment?” I ask as we half walk, half prance out of the courthouse.

“Highly improbable as human averages go,” he says.

“What is our locality?” I ask.

He reaches for his cell phone and opens the app. Then he seems baffled. “It says the location is not readable.”

“That’s strange,” I say as I kiss him on the cheek and rub my hand over his right chest muscle and the local jacket. “Maybe we’re not in range.”

“At the courthouse?” he murmurs.

“This has never happened before,” he adds as he takes my hand and we begin to half walk, half prance again.

“What is your name?” I ask him as I kiss the other cheek.

About the Author: 
<em>Marci Crane</em> is a Pilates Instructor in Salt Lake City, Utah. In her spare time she enjoys salsa dancing and reading "anything good."