Our eyes met across the airport lounge and I was struck by their intensity. I glanced away. He was young, wearing a well fitted suit and smiling, talking to a flight attendant.
Business class, I decided. Maybe I’ll get to walk by him on my way to the cattle pen.
The back of economy. 48H, actually. As far back as one can possibly go probably.
At least it was in the aisle.
I sat down and waited. The flight had been delayed.
Frodo was on my mind. We had seen each other over the break while I was home for Christmas. Our two meetings left me confused yet again, his actions weren’t consistent: I received a favourable response after interrogating him about why he never replied to my emails but the fact that he didn’t come to any of my ‘goodbye parties’ had left me determined to close the book on him.
That is, until I was skimming through my email in that airport lounge and received an e-mail from him, asking for my UK mailing address.
What the hell do you want from me now, I glared at my phone.
My emotions were mixed. I was livid. I was happy. I felt validated.
The PA system came on, asking me to board.
Row 44, 45, 46…
I waited patiently for a family of four to settle into their seats. I looked ahead and to my utter shock, the dark-eyed stranger was sitting next to an empty aisle seat. My heart jumped. He was watching me. I approached…
and planted my bag in the seat in the row in front of him. He was 49I. Damn my luck. I smiled at him, smiled at 48I and 48J. Sat down. Heard him talking to 49H. That bitch. She had my seat.
I couldn’t sleep. 48 I and J needed to use the toilet. I stood up to let them out and waited, flipping my hair around, trying to be cute.
It worked. He complimented me on an article of my clothing.
Taking that as an invitation, I rested my arms on the back of my chair and started conversing. He lived about six hours away from my hometown but was going to Europe to revisit his roots and study for a few months. We talked about sports and school and travel and cats.
My seatmates came back. I sat down, we timidly passed comments to each other until 48I’s awkward squirming caused us to stop. I tried to sleep again but his seatmate was leaning against the back of my chair. I met him on the way back from the bathroom, requesting that he let me know when she fell asleep. He smiled.
I woke up, upright. He was squatting by my chair, tapping me.
She’s asleep, he said.
Thanks, handsome stranger.
I can’t believe we’re not sitting together, he whispered while returning to his seat.
He passed me his iphone. I put myself in.
The flight was delayed and I was beginning to think I’d miss my last leg.
I want you to miss your flight, he asserted defiantly.
We exited the plane together and he insisted on running with me to my gate.
I thought you’d be sitting next to me, he remarked. I was disappointed.
We were thwarted by an airline customer service rep who seemed hell bent on separating us.
You have ten minutes to get to your gate, she insisted, while we were lined up at the security check. She pulled at my sweater, come this way.
I hugged him. He looked away. I ran.
I received a message from him 6 hours later.
He said he hated seeing me walk away.
I replied with a light-hearted jest like I usually do.
He responded, telling me he wanted to see me, flourishing it with a foreign greeting, urging me that it needed to happen.
What a fool I’d been. What a fool I am still.
Girl you know you’re lost. Lost in the thrill of it all.
- Frank Ocean