The setting again is the airport. I saw the queue and was standing in line to get my bag checked in when a voice behind me said, your shoe laces are open. The stranger had a warm smile, he seemed quite playful, somewhere in his mid 40s. I told him I knew they were open and I was trying to avoid bending down to tie them. That was our first conversation. He smiled again and told me he knew about those little lazy bouts we keep for a minute later.. 🙂
We never got into chatting .. but stood in the line until I realized I had already checked in and all I needed to do was drop the bag at the baggage drop. I looked a little further ahead of this longer queue I was standing in and found there was another shorter queue in front of a counter by that name. I moved out of the present queue and went to take my place there, bag in hand, a backpack on my shoulder trying to play another round of 2048 on my phone!
I looked up after about 15 minutes and found that the baggage drop queue I was in was not moving at all. I was standing where I stood the first time I entered this queue. I looked up to find there was something up at the counter between a passenger and the airline folks.. they were trying to solve her problem and while at it, by the time I reached the counter and got my bag checked in, so did my friend from the other queue. He passed me and said, “almost the same time.” I was amused! It seemed like some mini competition on his side.. I walked on.
I walked into a store and headed directly to a part where there were selling soft toys .. I found a cute poodle, and there again a voice tells me, “that’s just made for you, go pick it up” I turned around to see the stranger from the longer queue. This time, I laughed a little, asked him what he was buying and we got into a conversation where we went around the store looking for little trinkets for his folks.. I went back to my soft toy counter, picked up my poodle and as I stood in the queue to bill it, he walks past me again, saying “I’m done.. I beat you to the billing counter too”
This time round I felt really strange.. but I wished him the best. I thought I had seen the last of him. But we met again, at the chairs near the departure gate.. he bought me a cup of coffee..this time round, he sat down beside me and said, you remind me of my sister!
I thought, “cliche!”
He continued. “Everything from not tying to the shoe laces to playing games on the tablet, to being always active, to the love for soft toys and chocolates and coffee..” I hope you love coffee, I think you do” he finished. I took the cup of coffee from him, but by the time I was about to sip it, they called for boarding. I did not meet him again on the flight or later after I deplaned.
But this stranger remains an amusing mystery.. I’ll always remember his smile, a smile that reached his eyes! 🙂 a compliment which I have received from my well wishers and my enemies alike 🙂