My flight from Berlin to Salzburg is delayed, and I had to gate-check my suitcase, and I have a middle seat. But as I stimulate my way back to row 11, I see theres a silver lining the guy in the window seat is cute. cute. He has dark brown hair and thick forearms and a crisp, angled profile. His knees are hitting the seat in front of him, which means hes tall. He appears to be a few years younger than me.
Stealing sidelong glances at him, I watch hes reading a magazine in Spanish, which is odd because he doesnt look at all Latin. He looks like he merely walked out of a poster advertising Oktoberfest, or polka, or something similarly German and traditional.
He doesnt glance in my direction, absorbed in his magazine. But were in the exit row, and when the stewardess gestures at emergency situations doorway during her security demonstration, he suddenly turns to me and tells with a smiling, I guess its all on me. I laugh, astounded, and taking this as an invitation to talk, I ask, Where are you from?
Germany, he says. Southern Germany , not Berlin. I was here for a family reunion. Now that I can see his whole face I confirm that he is, indeed, very handsome.
But youre reading in Spanish, I point out, And your English is perfect. You sound like an American.
He smilings again, his cheek dimpling, and I choose he has one of the most charming smiles Ive seen in a while. He tells me he spent two years analyzing in the US. Hes trying to learn Spanish because he wants to go to South America next year, and hes also learning Russian because hes going to Moscow and St. Petersburg next month.
Hes dressed smartly in a polo and khaki shorts, his hair neatly combed, and I start to wish Id taken more care with my appearance. I have a bad habit of looking like a homeless person when I travel, and today is no exception Im wearing comfy but mismatched clothes, my uncombed hair is in a frizzy, tangled braiding, and my eyes are bloodshot from the two hours of sleep Id managed to squeeze in between coming home from a nightclub( because, when in Berlin) and heading to the airport. Patrick is definitely not find me at my aesthetic best.
He doesnt seem to mind, though. He asks me about my trip, and tells me what differences I can expect between Germany and Austria. I wait for him to fell mention of a spouse or girlfriend into the conversation a guy this cool must be taken but he doesnt.
We start talking about politics and history and religion, and it turns out Patrick is a wealth of knowledge on all three of these topics. Embarrassingly, he knows more about American politics than I do, and he rattles off historical facts like hes reading from an encyclopedia.
How do you know all this? I ask, impressed.
I read a lot, he says with a modest shrug. Now Im the one who smilings. The impact on me when a man says he reads a lot is what other women must feel when men disclose that theyre rich, or really good in bed, or they own a plane or a barge .
Do you also have a photographic memory? I ask, only half-joking. He chuckles, and blushes, and I guess his blushing is adorable, and we expend the next twenty minutes geeking out about our favorite newspapers and magazines.
After landing we stroll to baggage claim together, and Im hoping hell ask for my number. We both linger, and to me it feels like were both hesitate, but then we wish each other well and part ways.
Watching the automatic doorway whoosh shut behind him, I instantly start kicking myself. Why didnt I ask for number?
Salzburg is a small city, and for the next three days Im constantly hoping to run into Patrick. I scour LinkedIn and Facebook for him, searching his name be included with the smaller handful of details I know about him.
It turns out theres a lot of Patricks in Germany and Austria, though, and I dont have a clue what his last name is. After spending more period looking for him than I care to admit, I give up.
I console myself with the thought that it was just physical attraction and one hour of good conversation. Thats all nothing to act out a Greek tragedy over.
But dont most relationships start with physical attraction or good conversation, or ideally, both? What are the odds Id happen to be seated next to the cutest guy on the plane marriage hit it off? Opportunities to fulfils humen not involving an app these days are few and far between, and Im still kicking myself for bypassing what seemed as though an ideal scenario.
That telling about regretting the things you didnt do more than the ones you did actually holds true in love.
Not coincidentally, love is also where the stakes are highest; nothing hurts more than heartache, and being or not being with someone can change the course of your whole life.
If Id asked Patrick for his number, maybe hed have said I have a girlfriend or Im not interested. I wouldve had a moment of mild embarrassment, then Id have gotten over it within hours. At least Id know what his bargain was knowing is so much better than wondering and at the least Id have tried.
Theres also the possibility hed have been glad I asked, and wed still be in touch now.
Id like to say I learned my lesson, but the truth is there will probably be future scenarios where Ill stay where you are mutely and bite my lip instead of telling, Youre cool, wishes to hang out?
As a reminder, though, I keep a listing of quotes in my phone for instant gallantry. This is one of them 😛 TAGEND
In other words: when it comes to love, always, always go for it.
Say I love you first. Approach someone you think is out of your league. Ask the cute guy from the plane for his number, then induce plans to see him again. Theres so much more to be gained than there is to be lost.
And, to Patrick from southern Germany who sat next to me on the flight from Berlin to Salzburg: if you ever happen to read this, I hope youll write me.
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