The one that got away

I was waiting out in the terminal for my flight in San Jose Airport. It was a beautiful day, sunny with no wind or humidity. Too bad I was stuck inside, patiently passing time in transit. To prevent boredom induced hysteria, I picked up my book and started reading.

In my peripherals, I feel people walking by, some closer than others. I would occasionally glance up, just to see if any happened to be celebrities or just something interesting enough to break the mundane atmosphere of this airport. No such luck.

It wasn’t until about fifteen minutes prior to boarding that this changed. In my side vision, I noticed a something bold moving, was distracted by this loud, turquoise blue. Naturally, I my eyes diverted from the monotonous text they were analyzing, to this new stimuli.

That was when I saw her. A tall, gorgeous brunette wearing an immaculate turquoise top and perfectly fitted black jeans. My heart began to race as my eyes locked into hers. They were the most stunning, warm blue eyes I think I have ever seen. She smiles, presumably at me. I smile back. She breaks eye contact, looking down.

This was my invite. I am now the luckiest idiot in this entire airport. For some reason, this girl is, at the very least, interested in talking to me. She wants me to come over and introduce myself.

I got up, walked over to her, grabbed her hand, and twirled her twice, dipping her into my right hand at the conclusion of the second rotation. “Hello,” I said, charmingly. Long story short, we are now in love and are getting married in the fall.

OK, so that last part isn’t true. Even though I have made it a point to approach women I find attractive more and more, I was caught off guard. I hesitated, even when the opportunity was wide open. I failed to get up and talk to this beautiful woman.

There I sat, heart racing, excited. I buried my head back into my book. “Women like intelligent men. She’ll see my book and it will build even more attraction,” I rationalize in my head. I am just trying to find ways to avoid the potential rejection in hopes that, if I prolong the situation even more, a better opportunity will arise, one that I can’t possibly lose. This is just another lie and, the worst part is, I know it.

At any rate, I board the flight, as normal people often do. As I turn the corner into the cabin, I see her again. She sat in the middle seat of her row, all alone. Two empty seats, one on each side. My heart started to race, again. I crossed my fingers in foolish desperation: this was my chance, I could sit right next to her on this flight!

In all of this chaos that was going through my head, I happened to lock eyes with this gorgeous stranger yet again. Her smile was even wider this time. Once again, it was her who broke eye contact, but not until after what felt like an eternity. I kept walking through the aisle, ultimately passing by this woman in excruciating agony; my seat was three rows behind her.

I pepped myself up for most of the flight. I played out scenarios over and over again of how I would chase her down near baggage claim and get her phone number. I had it all figured out. Now just play the waiting game…

Long story short, I never talked to this woman. I attempted to execute on the plans I had in my mind, but logistics didn’t provide me with the golden third opportunity I craved so badly. I desperately scanned the airport for her bright blue top, but saw nothing. She was gone from my life forever, just as swiftly as she had entered.

I know exactly what I should have done. I should have been honest and confronted her then and there in the San Jose airport. I should have dropped the coy act altogether and put it all on the line. I should have done what I wanted to do, not what some social norm had conditioned me to.

The sad reality is that I will never get the chance to interact with this woman. I will never know if she was the perfect person for me or, more plausibly, if she was smiling at the person behind me. And this painful regret and uncertainty are the price I must pay for my inaction. A price that continues to drive me to act on my desires.

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