Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The one where she talks to strangers

Six years ago, in what seems like another lifetime now, I crossed "See the Pyramids" off my bucket list.  Toronto to Cairo isn't a popular enough route to warrant a direct flight, so it required a stopover in Amsterdam both ways. On the way back I booked a few days in Amsterdam, because why not? I met The Stranger on that flight. What a story to tell the grandchildren! "We met on the way from Cairo to Amsterdam." Can you imagine? He was exotic and gorgeous, like one would expect the man you meet on a globetrotting adventure to be.

My flight was delayed. I was still a smoker back then and the only seat left in the airport lounge was the one in a booth across from him. After I sat down we made the idle chit-chat you make when circumstances force you to sit a few feet away from a person you don't know. We learned we were on the same flight. We talked about Amsterdam and things to do while there. When we discovered the plane was half empty, we sat together. It's a long flight, might as well have company to pass the time.

When we landed, he invited me to dinner. I said yes. After all, a stranger is just a friend you haven't met. He was there for work so his days were full, but we spent the evenings together. His mother was Egyptian, he was visiting her family but he was raised in Munich and still lived there. He was ridiculously interesting. When my three days in Amsterdam were up, he invited me to come to Germany for the weekend. Tempting! But I said I couldn't. We didn't exchange contact information. Why bother pretending you're going to keep in touch from half a world away?

I spent a lot of time wondering why I didn't go. It wouldn't have caused undue financial hardship to change my flight or spend a few more days away from home. Yes, he was exotic and gorgeous, but he was also smart and a lot of fun. I still had plenty of vacation time left, an occupational hazard of workaholism. Means. Motive. Opportunity. Was I nuts? A beautiful stranger invited me to a strange land and I said no? What the hell was wrong with me?

I flew home and carried on with my life. I thought about The Stranger once in a while, but only in passing. A few months later I met another stranger, this time one a little closer to home. I think I didn't go because I knew on some level the gorgeous, exotic man half a world away was not THE Stranger I was destined for. Our story isn't quite "We met on the way from Cairo to Amsterdam," but it has a happy ending. I hope the grandchildren will understand.


This post is written as part of GBE2 - Week #50 word prompt: The Stranger. For more info about GBE,  click here.   

14 comments:

Gene Pool Diva said...

You have a wonderful voice and I enjoyed your post.

Sweety Darlin said...

AWESOME! We all need to have those stories in our lives to tell about the "stranger" I have some as well. There is the stranger, the stalker, the fling, and of course THE roadie.

Sometimes not going down one path opens others, and I think YOUR stranger gave you a parasite that is amazing!

drchoneydewcrm said...

did he have BIG BROWN intense eyes? You could write a romance novel about this..hehe

Anna said...

Great story!

Jo said...

What an awesome memory. I totally understand why you didn't go...I also think the parasite will one day be happy you didn't go!
Loved sharing this with you.

Word Nerd said...

Yeah, that stranger could have sent you in a direction where you wouldn't have met THE stranger. Your gut must have known.

beachlover said...

Nice story! You sound like a very wise woman. ;)

Emme Rogers said...

Love this story. Often wondered when to embrace the flirtations of a stranger in a strange land.

November Rain - k~ said...

Very sweet story :-)

pbquig said...

Great story and very romantic, I was waiting for him to turn out to be a spy or a jewel thief, but still exotic enough as it was. What a fun experience!

Amy Morgan said...

Great story. My post on this thread is a fictional story about two strangers in an airport. It was nice to read your real experience!

ElaineLK said...

Great story. I'm always one to err on the side of caution, and I wouldn't have gone with him, either, but I'd also think about it for the rest of my life and wonder what might have been. Glad it turned out that you did the right thing!

Paula Martin said...

Great story which could become the start of a romance novel...

Lance said...

Great story

My wife often asks "how you and I met is a lot more boring than how you met other women. Is that ok" I always respond "none of them were you".