They called him Derf. We met at a bar on Southport near Montana. His friends got on with my friends, and we had one of those boozy fun evenings where everyone was laughing and open to possibilities.

Jennifer gave his friend her number. Derf didn’t ask for mine. And I thought that was that.

Until a few months later. I was crossing Halsted at Diversey heading home after a quiet Tuesday night. He, poised to get into a cab, called out my name. Back then, chance encounters made me feel like the universe was watching out for me. I swear just then, I felt it shift.

He invited me to go to Irish Eyes to meet his friends. I hopped in the cab, thrilled at the turn of events. We sped toward Lincoln Avenue with purpose and energy. We walked in the bar expecting a big welcome and finding emptiness.

Oh, he said. This isn’t it. So he hailed another cab and confidently asked to go to Vaughan’s on Sheffield (steps from my place!). Our energy still high as we walked in to yet another empty bar.

Finally, he texted his friend. The third cab ride brought us to Hidden Shamrock at Halsted and Diversey, across the street from where we started. By then his friends were hailing cabs for home. I laughed, still game. But he was defeated. We parted ways…no numbers exchanged.

The universe was looking out for me, after all.

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