Xavier Perez-Pons is the author of an academic essay entitled “Love Letters from a Widower: the Mystery of Soul Mates in Light of Ancient Wisdom". But he has made a living writing witticisms for television. Somehow he has managed to alternate both hobbies, Philosophy and Humor, without getting himself into a hopeless muddle.
There is nothing mysterious in his fondness of humor (absurd humor, to be precise). Simply, since he was a child he has that skill (like someone who is good at playing basketball, let's say). And, while studying Law at the University, he won a tender called by a television channel to write a situation comedy. That was the beginning of his career as a TV screenwriter specialized in witticism and silly humor.
As for his fondness of Philosophy (and specifically, of the Soulmates’ theory), it does have a mysterious starting point. He narrates it this way:
“I was thirteen years old. My sister two years younger than I used to bring home some of her classmates to do homework together. That afternoon, my mother had been urgently required by a neighbor, so she left me in charge of ironing the clothes she was forced to interrupt. Soon my sister arrived accompanied as always by a friend. I informed her out loud that our mother had left, she acknowledged receipt of the notice and went to her room.
But her friend did not follow her: intrigued by that masculine voice, she followed its trail until she found me in the room where I was ironing shirts. Since I was on my back and focused on my task, I did not notice her presence until she greeted me with a "hello". I turned a little startled and saw her standing there, watching me. I barely had time to react because my sister immediately came to the rescue of her friend.
In general, I did not like my sister's friends, but this one was different. Not only did I like her, but I felt as if a spring had jumped in my memory. In a word: I felt a surprising familiarity towards her, as if I had found a loved one after a long time. I did not hide it from my family: during dinner, I commented that I really liked my sister's friend, which generated joking reactions like "Go, finally you like some of her friends!", "Miracle!".
Here the story is interrupted to retake it ten years later.
In all that time, I had not seen Blanca (that's her name) or known about her. I worked at that time as a scriptwriter on Televisión Española.
One evening, I came back home by bus when I saw her in the distance through the window. My heart skipped a beat because I recognized it immediately. But I recognized her not as the girl who had briefly passed through my family's home ten years before, but just as I recognized her that afternoon: as someone very dear, for whom I felt a strange familiarity and confidence. It was a little later that I realized that I had experienced that same feeling ten years ago and that she was the same girl. (This experience sparked my interest in the theory of Soul Mates, and when I realized that there was no book that thoroughly traced the origins of this theory, I decided to write that book myself.) It was the hour people left work, the traffic was intense and the bus moved slowly, so I had time to observe her. She had just left the Conciliar Seminary, where the future priests were preparing, and she was chatting animatedly with a friend. I do not know if it was the expression of surprise on my face what made her stop suddenly and turn to stare at me, also with the same expression of surprise.
The next day, I asked my sister about her old friend and I found out she was preparing to become a cloistered nun and that this had been her vocation since she was a child.
Among other considerations, that made me desist from contacting her. I thought that such an ingrained vocation was too beautiful a thing to be ruined.
A year passed.
I was visiting my sister's new apartment. She was busy in the kitchen preparing dinner while I took off my coat in the living room. Then an open envelope called my attention on the mail tray; the address was that of a convent of Poor Clares.
The next Sunday I took a train and I stood at the door of the convent church with the intention of attending mass.
I had arrived an hour in advance, but the door was open and I wanted to take a look. The Church was in gloom and I saw no one; but suddenly I heard a greeting from one of the sides. I turned around and there she was, lighting some candles. She was dressed as a nun, wearing a white novice headdress, but once again I recognized her immediately. My plan was to attend mass with the hope of seeing her, but without her being aware of my presence, so I stepped back and left the church with my heart beating strongly. To reassure myself, I went for a walk among the vineyards that surrounded the convent, and at the time of the mass I returned.
This time there were many parishioners gathered in front of the church. I was among the last to enter. I sat on the side, discovering with satisfaction that, as I had foreseen, the nuns were present. They occupied the first two banks, which allowed me to contemplate Blanca without her seeing me. I thought with joy that, as long as I lived, I would not stop attending that mass every Sunday. However, an unforeseen event occurred, which is that Blanca went out to read the first reading of the Gospel. There we were again face to face, our eyes met...
My intention to pass unnoticed had been frustrated. However, I did not stop going to my "appointment" every Sunday.
But, as the weeks passed, our peculiar relationship based on looks of complicity, was becoming more and more evident. Then one day I received a letter from the mother superior of the convent asking me, for the sake of Blanca, to stop attending mass in that church.
Since then, more than twenty years have passed and I have not seen her again.
But seven years ago I suddenly felt the urge to make inquiries, and I learned that, along with the other nuns in the convent among vineyards, Blanca had been moved to another Spanish province, to a centennial monastery in need of young nuns to relieve the old ones who occupied it.
I applied for vacations and again took a train, this time with a farther destination. I was again in front of the church of that centennial convent. Again I opened the door slowly ... but suddenly the emotion took over me and I was not able to enter.
I returned to Barcelona after a few days, sad because I knew I would not see her again, at least in this life. But I remembered that she was always joyful and had a blind faith in the bright future that awaits us all at the end of our pilgrimage on Earth. So I recovered, and now I am joyful, waiting for that luminous future in which I also believe blindly.”