This week’s Discover Challenge, inspired by Ann Cavitt Fisher’s “The Train,” asks you to focus on a chance encounter.
In November 1985, on a train from Amsterdam to Paris, Ann Cavitt Fisher met a man named Piet Maas. On the journey, Ann and Piet chat — first as strangers — about where they’re going, where they’ve been, and where they currently are in their relationships. In one of those rare chance encounters, they pass the hours talking about various subjects and — as sometimes life allows in fleeting moments — they become more than strangers.
I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll say no more, but I welcome you to read “The Train” on Ann’s blog.
Chance encounter (noun): A meeting, especially one that is unplanned, unexpected, or brief.
You don’t have to read the piece, however, to participate in this challenge. Think of a chance encounter you’ve had with a person you didn’t know: it might also have taken place on a train, or some other form of transport, or on a bench at the park, or while walking down the street. The encounter with this stranger may have happened really fast, or was unexpectedly drawn out, like Ann and Piet’s day on the train. It could be a fond memory, or a bizarre moment, or a meeting that changed your life.
In your response to this challenge, revisit this encounter in any way you’d like. Craft a scene or document the conversation. Or through this meeting, tell us what you learned — about yourself, or the other person. What was special, or surreal, or sad, or bittersweet about it?
You may write a personal essay or memoir, like Ann’s post, or tackle another genre. Fiction writers and poets: tell us how two characters cross paths. Artists and photographers: capture a chance encounter in a sketch or a photograph. Interpret this challenge in your own way!