Like at First Sight

Illustration: OWN Digital

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Jane Bernstein and Heather Sellers on the magic moment that made them friends.

Bernstein: A mutual friend said, "Oh, you really need to meet this writer, Heather Sellers. She teaches in the Midwest, just like you do, she rides a bike, like you do, and she sublets in New York each summer, just like you." I said sure, thank you. In truth, I had a lot of friends and didn't have time for another. I didn't really want to meet you.

Sellers: And I thought, "Why can't I be introduced to a nice man?" But I said yes, reluctantly. And then your email was so sweet: "We've been fixed up! I'll go anywhere." I suggested meeting in Central Park for a short walk, 5 P.M., in and out. You were late.... Part of me hoped you wouldn't show.

Bernstein: That first moment of meeting...what do you remember, other than that I was wearing those awful brown pants?

Sellers: Smart. Pretty. Curious. But the most important thing for me was this very intent way you asked questions. I'd never experienced anything like it, honestly. You wanted to know me in this completely singular way. We just fell into a deep, connected conversation. It was thrilling.

Bernstein: It was easy, because you're so receptive and open, really able to connect on an emotional level—and you're supersmart and uncynical. People become so guarded. My own reserve fell away; your liveliness brought me to life.

Sellers: We were walking around the Reservoir when I realized I had to have this friendship.

Bernstein: It was the same for me. Two hours had flown by; it was dusk. We had to part. But I knew I had to see you again. Like with romantic love, the obstacles no longer mattered—that we lived 1,000 miles from each other, our busy lives. I said, "Hey, my daughter's having a party Friday. Will you come?"

Sellers: One date and you wanted to take me home to meet your family.

Bernstein: I know. And it's been so great, hasn't it?

Sellers: It's been one long conversation, unbroken—this deep, rich river of words for three years now. All from that one moment in Central Park.

Bernstein: One of us in bad pants.

Editors' note: Both Bernstein and Sellers contacted us independently, wanting to write their story, unaware that the other had reached out to the magazine. Moment of grace double whammy!