Thursday, January 22, 2009


It's interesting that most of the time the moments one treasures are the ones that just happen by chance. The ones you never figure will even happen. And today I decided to write about one of them. Who knows? If I like the result I may even extend it to a series of essays.

When one sits down in a plane, one always wonders who will sit next to you. Will the person be quiet, will he or she talk and be incredibly obnoxious? Well, this happened to me almost 20 years ago on a flight from Madrid to San Juan. That particular flight left at 3am from Madrid. I was tired and sleepy when I sat down, hoping to get a bite and just doze off. That was all I wanted.

Suddenly next to me sat a young woman. She smiled, It's hard for me to explain how beautiful she was. Not in fashion model sense, simply in a down to earth kind of way. The thing was that we started talking. About what we did. She was finishing her studies and was going back to Peru for some days off. And one thing led to another and we ended up talking about life, fate, love, dreams. I had never felt so comfortable talking to a complete stranger. Maybe because we were strangers and would never see each other again, we felt such a willingness to talk freely. And we did for hours. In retrospect, those hours seem like mere minutes. It was the fastest 8 hour flight in my life.

And then we landed in San Juan. She stayed on the plane since she was continuing on to Peru. We said goodbye. No mail exchanges. No phone numbers. We would never get in touch again. It was just two strangers who met in a flight and talked. And yet here I am 20 years later thinking about it. And wondering if things could have been different.

And yet one can't help realize that today we could have kept in touch via e-mail. Skype. But that was so long ago in a world in which friends would vanish, in which it was so hard to keep in touch. When someone talks to me about the dangers of new technology, I nod, smile and think of that woman in the plane and of the difference a simple e-mail address could have made.

1 comment:

lostfoundagain said...

What a beautiful and touching story. It's amazing how sometimes we meet people and there's this instant connection, and everything flows so smoothly.
As I was reading your account of this, I could almost feel your excitement and joy of connecting with another human being on an intimate level. And as I read farther, I started feeling that tinge of sadness and regret and wonder- the big What If...