It was on September 26, 1993 (she doesn’t remember the date, but I do – and yes, that means I’m older than you thought). I rode my motorcycle to the Berkeley Marina for the fun of exploring a new area. I believe it was the first time I had ever been there.

I parked my bike and walked with helmet in hand and ripped clothing. I passed a girl sitting down with her head in her arms, and kept going. I walked to the very end of the pier, turned around, and started walking back. Again, I saw the same girl.

This time, she was standing up against the railing and an old man was talking to her. She looked really uncomfortable like he was kind of creepy or something and I wondered if I should do anything to help out. I figured I’d probably just be adding to her problems, so should probably just keep going. But what if she was actually being bothered? I looked at her and she gave me a friendly look, telling me in a glance that the guy indeed was unwanted. Without thought, I simply went and stood next to her, making it seem as if I had been away and had just come back. The old man picked this up and soon walked away.

She thanked me and not wanting to have my motivations be misunderstood, I quickly walked on.

Soon I realized that this too might be a little foolish, so I slowed down a little, and a little more. Her two friends who I had seen at the end of the pier had now caught up to her and they all caught up to me. She again thanked me and introduced me to her friends. We started talking and eventually the subject of my motorcycle came up. I asked her if she wanted to see it. It was a pretty new bike for me, so I was proud showing it off.

We got to the bike (Goldy – a 1976 Honda CB360T, painted yellow – long story here as well) and I asked her if she wanted to honk the horn. She declined. We talked a little longer and I asked her if I could get her number.

johnslove_1We didn’t have any pens, so we scratched each other’s numbers on some torn paper with a key. She went to write her name: L.o.v.e… I wondered what the heck she was writing, then she finished it off with l.e.e.n. What a cool name, I thought. We said goodbye and I told her I would call her.

After leaving the pier, I went to the Berkeley flea market and walked around. I was so happy that I had met her and just wanted to look at the piece of paper as a dream ‘reality check.’ I searched my pockets and couldn’t find it anywhere. My jeans had tears all over and I had actually lost it.

In my life, I had already experienced tremendous loss on several occasions – the kind of loss one might feel upon losing a child, or a parent, or someone adored completely. After having met Loveleen for such a short period, I already felt that the loss of her number fit into this category. But there was nothing I could do about it. I had to accept it as yet another great life tragedy.

She had my number also, but she was a nice Indian girl and I figured there was no chance she would ever call me. I remember going to work the next day and telling my carpenter friends about my great loss.

A couple weeks later, I checked the phone messages and there was a message from Loveleen. I picked up the phone and dialed her back in a nanosecond. Apparently, a good friend of hers liked this guy and Loveleen had mentioned me and they dared one another to call. I was so happy and still am.

If it were not for that ‘chance’ encounter, our lives would be so totally different. To me it never felt like chance at all. Even to this day, I feel that the old man on the pier wasn’t just a creepy old man like he appeared, but was actually an angel, playing a role in beautiful disguise.