A chance coincidence, a delayed flight, a brief encounter…
I was sitting in a small cantina across from Gate A23 in a random Airport, in a random City, as I crossed the country one more time. I sat at a table of four, not paying attention to my boss and his staff while they discussed the mundane and over appreciated. My mind had wondered to the musings of the world and the delay in the flight. As my gaze lowered from the ceiling my eyes passed over a woman, slightly leaning against the wall, looking up at the same board that I had been. Calm and powerful, a greek statue or a Jacques-luis David –perfect and ephemeral beauty– with eyes that displayed little emotion; yet, the statuesque pose was enough to trap my fascination.
Ironic that she is a quarter mexican as I sat in a faux mexican restaurant. Ironic that she was alone and I was pretending to be alone. I wanted to know more, I had to see her, I had to have her in a way that comes and goes so fast across the mind of those that are romantics. I left to walk it off, to move on, to find my fascinations elsewhere. When I returned, she was still there, oblivious to me, or so it would seem. The flights were delayed again, and then canceled, and as if by divine appreciation for my needs she lined up behind my party of four for the airline help desk. As all adolescents do, I acted out until she noticed. Working hard for her to smile, to shed her indifference. Slowly but surely my antics were noticed and she smiled, oh if that had only been enough. If nothing more had happened, I would have been secure in the small victory of bringing warmth and a smile to a beautiful, fascinating, stranger. We left for the baggage claim, knowing that it was over, without regrets, without remorse, I could smile.
She stood there, as if she was waiting for me, at the baggage claim. I couldn’t resist, I had to say hi, I had to know if she was staying at the same hotel as us. The words came out so quick, I volunteered our ride to wait for her and her bags. My mind was racing, I was trying to be ‘cool,’ to be calm, to be in control. The ten minutes in the van, the awkward looks at the check-in counter and the twenty minutes in my room should have put things back into perspective. When I walked past her to dinner, she turned and looked at me from the hotel bar. So we talked, we worked around some assurance policy that we would be able to meet up. I could see it in her eyes, only then as I wrote down my number, the whole night played out before me as we looked at each other. I knew that she would wait for me in the hotel bar. I suffered through a working dinner, waiting for the text ensuring me that she was till there. Leaving behind my responsibilities and any sense of accountability I said good night to my coworkers and went to her. She had been patient, nursing a drink, waiting for me, texting me.
I sat next to you, and steadied my hand that wanted to reach out and touch you. We forced ourselves to settle into the rights and passage of the conventional. A protocol of small talk and drinks when we both knew that we were passing time. Waiting for it to be more appropriate than what it was, or what it would ever be. We fended off would be interlopers, I would wait them out. Or at least in one case, piss them off so much that they would leave. I wanted you to need me, so I talked. We worked slowly through the night, forcing ourselves not to make it obvious, to be social with everyone while all I wanted was you. As the hours went by I could see you looking up at me, ever so slightly changing the dynamic, your face marked with hints of desire. And it was then that I watched the vultures of our minds circle, because without you, right then, the world would have lost meaning. In efforts to hide our true intent we walked, room to room, from singular moments to singular moments of passion; desperately trying to ignore their addition. Finally we stopped moving. We stopped thinking, we stopped being individuals, we were young again, insecure, curious, clumsy, and entwined.
The hours would pass and the sun would be working its way to the horizon when we parted company, one final embrace one final look. The world was different somehow, not dramatically so, only slightly, in only a way that this woman and I would know. With uncertainty we looked at each other from across the room in the same airport from the day before. Casual glances, afraid that any interaction would give it all away, that the whole world that we damned would know. Fear, fear of a future that we would deny, knowing that the seed could not grow, yet somehow, I have found myself writing these words. Smiling, content, happy with the night; a night I would do again, I would work for and hold in appreciation of the subtleties of a romantic tryst found on a cold desert night.