Let’s call him ‘Oliver.’
It’s not his real name but his actual name is sort of old-fashioned like ‘Oliver’ and besides, he kept making me think “Please, sir, I want some more!”
But pinching a man’s heart is a bit harder than being one of Fagan’s pickpockets. At least I think so… Love and relationships are more Twist-y than even Dickens was able to tell.
Part of why I crave travel is the opportunities and possibilities that are walking down every cobbled street and every flowing river. I love the energy of sitting in an airport waiting area and meeting a stranger. Sometimes it’s just a nice way to pass the time. Sometimes you exchange business cards and you never hear from each other again. Sometimes you become Facebook friends.
But there’s always that possibility of that ‘one time.’
I’m a bit old-school about flying… I like to dress nicely, wear lipstick, do my hair, travel without bulky suitcases and fluffy pillows. First impressions count, after all. And I get a buzz from striding through the airport with the click of my heels on the tile, my black coat flapping…
That’s changed a bit since I travel so frequently. And since I travel with a dog.
Mr. T was a total trooper to Barcelona. But instead of my ‘plane outfit,’ I ended up traveling in my favorite windbreaker that has all the pockets so I could load myself up with doggie treats, his passport, leash, etc. Anything to keep the weight of his carrier down and avoid the extra clutter of a purse.
The final end result… when you stand in line to board on the tarmac in Barcelona, baking in the sun under the clear plastic plexiglass tube connecting the plane to the airport (WHO ON EARTH DESIGNED THAT TORTURE DEVICE?!?) loaded down by your fleece sweater that you will need back in Amsterdam, the dog carrier, your carryon with your extra t-shirt, laptop and doggie food, your scarf, your jacket… well…. let’s say that the look of being a composed and smooth traveler goes out the window.
Meet sweaty, hair stuck to my forehead, smelling like dog treats… ME.
And that’s when Oliver sits down next to me.
He’s HOT – not in the tarmac baking sense – and CUTE and we immediately begin a conversation that has a rat-tat-tat-ta rhythm that clicks along at a speed that makes us forget all of the world around us. We trade pictures of our dogs, we share a sandwich, we trade life stories. We share business plans. Dreams. Hopes. Talk about our parents and their quirks. Post-divorce life. Beauties of travel. Have you sky dived?
He asks questions that are insightful, funny and make me want to beg ‘please sir, can I have some more?’
And then he asks me “Are you dating someone?”
Thank goodness for a seatbelt because I would have floated around the cabin. His green-gold eyes were so close.
“Not at the moment. I was with someone but we split. You?”
“Yes, we’ve been together five years.”
I had fallen into the Dutch Pit. That place where I sometimes forget the Dutch people will take you – where they ask about very personal things, talk about very personal things. Are very open and hospitable. And totally cross boundaries in conversation that few casual conversationalist will do in the US, and guys do in the US only if they are single OR they are total dogs.
My romantic and wanting heart had totally forgotten – or blocked- that little tidbit of expat frustration… That sometimes you meet people here and you think ‘Wow, my new best friend!’
But they are just actually great conversationalists and are engaging in that uber-open Dutchness that can be so fun…
Luckily, I am pretty good at control my facial expressions. I think…
But when ‘Oliver’ got up and walked down the aisle, leaving me and Mr. T behind… I wanted to cry. I don’t know if it was because of him, or the pictures of his cute dog, or if it was just my heart saddened by the fact that I will never see this guy again… I wanted to rage. I wanted to run after him and give him my card. I wanted to go home.
I peeled my sweaty-doggie-treat-smelling self out of the seat, struggled with the extremely small space beneath the seats to get Mr. T and his carrier out (thanks, Vueling Airlines for that!) And left the airplane.
I’d always preferred Great Expectations anyway.