An IRL meet-cute

Airport Romance

It was the perfect meet-cute. Two single people, traveling alone. They strike up a conversation while waiting for an early-morning flight. They hit it off, and enjoy their waiting time more than either could’ve imagined, especially at 7 a.m. They smile, laugh and share a little bit about each other. And as boarding starts, he hands her his card. She smiles and puts it in her bag. And when they deplane at their destination, she gives him a small wave goodbye. Both hope to see each other again.

Storybook material, right? Well, that more or less actually happened to me. I was waiting for a flight home and had a lovely conversation with another solo — and single — traveler. But instead of being a whole story, it ended as soon as it began. I forgot about it, never getting up the courage to actually use his card. Then, I got into a relationship shortly after. Now, though, I wonder what would have happened if I had called ‘airport guy’.

Facebook Stumble

Cue the internet figuring out that Facebook has an ‘other’ inbox that it filters unsolicited messages from people that are not friends into. Great in theory. It cuts down on creepy and unwanted messages. Not so great in practice. Because when I checked it amid this internet uproar, I found an adorable message from ‘airport guy’. He even explained how he’d found my Facebook, which was not creepy. He asked me out for tea or coffee, and concluded it with ‘looking forward to hearing how your trip went’. It killed me. Three years later, and he never found out how it went; I never got the chance to respond. It was an actual, real-life missed connection. I seriously thought that only happened in rom-coms.

The ‘what if’

But does he remember? Maybe. Does it matter? Probably not. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to wonder about, though. I love ‘what-if’ scenarios, and this is a big one. What if I’d seen that message? Would we have gone on that date? And if we did, what if I’d dated him instead of my ex? Would I have been happier? I could drive myself crazy with all the questions and scenarios. Part of me thinks there is a good chance the fictional relationship would have been better than the actual relationship with my ex (it wasn’t great). But, the practical side of me admits that there is just as good of a chance it wouldn’t have worked out. He could have been a jerk. A master manipulator. Or a terrible kisser. As it is now, he can be whatever my imagination wants him to be. And it’s probably better this way.

Reality is better

I’m happy. I like my life. And I’ve learned a lot of lessons since that morning in the airport. I needed that failed relationship with my ex. It taught me about myself and what I’d need in a partner as an adult. My experiences have all impacted me, and I’ve grown much more confident in myself. Plus, I am in a fantastic relationship now. (Guys … He surprises me with flowers!)

I choose to believe I’m right where I need to be. Everything happens for a reason, or something. Even missed connections. Because everything I’ve done, or not done, has made me who I am today. And I really like her.

But, if you’re reading this ‘airport guy’, I’m really sorry I never responded.

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