Serendipity – The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
“Hurry!” You call to your best friend as you run across the street, the walk light flashing.
She huffs, tucking her map into her bag, and races across with the other last minute pedestrians. “I still don’t understand why we had to come straight here instead of going to the hotel first.”
Here was the Louvre museum. The two of you have been enjoying a two week vacation in England and decided to make the most of your trip by taking the Chunnel over for a weekend in Paris. It did not take much to convince your friend, the allure of the sights and delicious food was enough reason, but you managed to leave out one small detail in your reasoning for traveling to France.
The Louvre was showing an exclusive exhibit of the works of Antoine Watteau. While you were not the most educated in art, your grandmother was a master. She always had books and examples of famous works all over her house.
Growing up, she would always tell you the story of how she met your grandfather while studying abroad in college. It was at a museum in England that they met, by chance, in front of one of Antoine Watteau’s paintings.
It was while you were planning your trip that you discovered the exhibit was being shown at the Louvre. Something in you screamed that you could not pass up this chance to see his work in person.
“We’ll never make it back in time before the museum closes if we go to the hotel,” you say, gazing at the breathtaking palace. “I don’t want to miss this.”
“The exhibit is here all weekend and I’m tired and hungry and want to take a nap,” your friend whines.
You turn back and smile at her pouting face. She was not the most patient of individuals so the idea of walking through a gigantic museum was the epitome of torture to her. “Give me one hour,” you say, holding up one finger. “We go to the one exhibit, I see what I need to see, and then we leave. I’ll come back another day on my own to see the rest of it; I just need to see this.” You clasp your hands together, pleading with her. “After that, we can go right to the hotel and soak our feet. One hour is all I ask.”
She narrows her eyes, thinking it over. “Can we get room service?”
You laugh. “Yes, we can get room service.”
She nods. “And I get to plan our day tomorrow? Wherever I want to go?”
“You can plan the whole rest of the weekend, if you want!”
She sighs dramatically and stomps past, linking arms with you in the process, dragging you with her. “I suppose one hour won’t kill me.”
You squeal in excitement and swing an arm around her shoulder and squeeze her to your side. “You’re the best, you know that right?”
“Don’t you forget it.”
Your friend was not kidding about your one hour time limit and set a timer on her phone the moment you purchased your admission ticket. You make mental notes of all the rooms you want to take a closer look at once you return on your own. Together, you navigate through the endless hallways and floors until you find the room that housed the exhibit.
The room is packed with people and you have to crane you neck up and stand on your tip toes in order to see over the sea of heads at the various works. Your eyes scan the room until they land on the one you were there to see. The Embarkation of Cythera, the painting that brought your grandparents together.
The largest cluster of people surrounds it and you have to pace back and forth to try and find a gap. “Do me a favor,” you say, passing your purse to your friend. “Go over to the side and try and get some pictures of the painting for me.”
“What are you going to do?” She asks, taking your purse.
You take a deep breath. “I’m going in.”
Before she can stop you, you squeeze into the group of people. Using quick steps and apologizing for the occasional, innocent, elbow to the side, you manage to squeeze your way towards the front. It would figure that the people in the very front are the tallest of everyone there.
You huff and try to peek around them, shifting from side to side with the crowd. Finally, you see your gap in between two men. You go for it but one of them shifts before you can get in and you end up stumbling.
A pair of hands grabs your shoulders, set you back up right and pulls you forward out of the crowd and, just like that, you are there. Front and center.
You had every intention of turning and thanking the person who helped you but you could not move. You could not explain any of the techniques used to create it or the artist’s meaning behind it. You were not even sure if it was just the painting or the personal meaning it held for you but it was one of the most beautiful things you had ever seen in your life.
You feel tears well up in your eyes as you wish your grandparents could be here right now. You glance over to your right and see your friend snapping photos on her phone. She looks up from the screen and gives you a thumb up and a giant smile.
You return the gesture and go back to watching the painting for a few minutes longer, losing yourself in your thoughts once more.
“I’ve changed my mind,” your friend says later that night while sprawled out the couch in the sitting room of your hotel room. “I’m perfectly content staying right here the rest of the weekend.”
You laugh and walk back into the room from the balcony that gives you the perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. “I’m not going to stop you but I plan on getting some pastries and chocolates tomorrow. I don’t think you can get those from room service.”
“This is true. I may have to join you for chocolates.” She stretches over to the table beside her and grabs her phone. “Let’s see what picture I should post on Instagram. Must let my fans know how much fun I’m having.”
“Yeah, all ten of them,” you snicker, lifting her legs up so you could sit down beside her and placing them back on top of your legs. You pull out your phone as well, planning on sending a text to your parents to let them know how your day went.
You both are silent for a few moments; the only sounds are that of the city outside, before your friend sits up, her eyes wide. “Oh my God...” She breaths.
“What?” You ask, setting your phone down and leaning closer to see.
“Tell me that isn’t who I think it is standing behind you in this shot.” She says, handing the phone to you.
You look at the screen. It was from the museum. It was of you standing in front of the painting, your face full of wonder, completely absorbed in the sight before you. You squint and use your fingers to enlarge the photo and look at the crowd behind you. You gasp.
‘No...it can’t be.’ You think to yourself.
But it was. There was no denying that the man standing behind you was T.O.P from Big Bang. He did a good job at concealing himself with his long coat, paperboy hat and glasses but you were a VIP. You would recognize that glimpse of blonde hair and jaw line anywhere.
“What is he even doing there?” You ask, staring at the phone, still not fully believing that you were literally inches away from arguable one of the most attractive men in Korea – and quite possibly the world – and you had no idea.
Your friend takes the phone back. “I heard he came with GD for fashion week but what are the odds of running into him.”
“Literally,” You say. “I think he was the one who pulled me forward when I tripped. How else would I have ended up right in front of him?”
Your friend is silent, her focus only on her phone.
You eye her wearily. “What are you doing?”
She smiles, handing the phone over to you. It was her Instagram page. She has posted the photo, tagging T.O.P in it.
‘That awkward moment when you’re so distracted by a painting that you don’t notice your bias standing right behind you. Thank you @ choi_seung_hyun_tttop for helping my bestie live out one of her dreams in seeing this lovely work of art! You’re the best!’
“You did not!” You exclaim.
She takes the phone back and stands up, stretching and walking off to her room. “Relax. It’s not like he’ll even see it. He gets tagged in stuff all the time.”
You run your hand through your hair and sigh, getting up and going into your room to get ready for bed.
You lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Why didn’t you turn around to thank him? You could have actually spoken to him, asked him his thoughts on the piece. Oh, who were you kidding? If you had turned around, you probably would have started screaming or passed out or something equally embarrassing. It was for the best.
You reach up and touch your shoulder. You could almost still feel his hands. You smile to yourself.
Suddenly, your door bursts open and your friend comes running on, launching herself onto your bed. She is out of breath but you could tell that she is laughing through her gasps for air. “What?” You ask, sitting up.
“H-he...TOP...he...” She stammers, holding out her phone to you, taking deep breaths. “He replied!” She exclaims. “I can’t believe it but he actually replied!”
You grab the phone and look at the comment section of the photo.
‘I don’t blame her for the distraction. It was a beautiful piece. Enjoy your adventures. I look forward to another chance encounter.’
Well, there is part 1!
I'll admit, I am a little nervous about posting this. It has been a long time since I have been confident enough to post any of my stories publicly. I really hope you guys liked it and want to read more. :)
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