Encounters of the unexpected kind

I have a funny story to tell, but to protect the innocent I am not going to use any names, dates, or places.

Basically, you will have to follow along closely to get the full experience.
About three years ago I went on a few dates with a guy. Nothing special, just a nice guy who lived too far away for it to work out.
He lived (in 2015) about two hours from me, so I honestly never thought I’d see him again.
Imagine my shock when not only did I see him again, but now I have seen him three times in 12 months – twice at the same event that I attend for work, and the third at a similar event I attended as a guest.
He has a job similar to one of my work responsibilities, but I didn’t expect to see him performing those duties at anything related to Springtown or Azle – mainly because he lives so far away.
I was wrong.
The first time I was caught completely off guard. I was at said event, taking pictures, kind of half squatting half kneeling when he – also operating a camera – turned around out of the clear blue.
At first, I thought I was mistaken, but then we made eye contact.
After turning what I am sure was one hundred shades of red, I very conspicuously “squaddled” backward to hide.
Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t a bad guy, and it’s not as if he is my one true love, I was just caught off guard.
Nonetheless, it made a funny story to tell my friends because, as many of them said, what were the odds?
Flash forward a year. I am at the same event, but I am standing in a gathering area before everything gets started, minding my own business, trying not to die of heat exhaustion when guess who walks by with his camera in his hand?!
You guessed it.
At this point, the situation was just hilarious. I didn’t hide, nor was I embarrassed; I simply accepted the fact that apparently, this was going to be an annual tradition as long as both of us remain employed in our current positions.
Now, you may think that I was done being surprised by this guy – I’d accepted our fate to run into each other once a year in late May.
I was wrong again.
Last week I was at an event as a guest, not on the clock, sitting in the stands minding my own business.
Because I was there to support a sibling, I arrived early to get a front-row seat.
After about a half-hour of sitting there, guess who came walking by with his camera?!
You guessed it, again.
A friend of mine told me this was obviously fate trying to tell us something, but I don’t think so.
Save the first encounter when I nearly did a back flip trying to get out of his line of sight, I don’t even think he’s noticed my presence.
If fate is trying to tell me anything, it is that I am doomed to nothing more than awkward, chance meetings with men who I have already decided aren’t the right ones.

Christina Derr is a reporter for this paper.