From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

Just One Look, That’s All It Took

My cousin was getting married, and I was tapped to be a participant in the wedding—a groomsman to be exact. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. My cousin lived in California and I lived in Washington, but since my cousin and I were very close, my family and I knew we had to be there for the wedding.

It was a gorgeous fall day in California, a perfect day for a wedding. The church was beautifully decorated and colors danced all over the room as the sun shone through the stained-glass windows. I looked as fashionable as ever in my black tux and emerald green vest. The bride was stunning. I never saw two people more happy just to be in each other’s presence than I did that day standing at the altar. You could see in their eyes that this was true love. They had each found their other half.

I couldn’t help but think about my relationship at home. As much as I wanted to deny it, it was falling apart. She was my first serious girlfriend. I loved her a lot, but when you start to forget the reasons why you got together in the first place and when the negatives start outnumbering the positives, it’s time to say good-bye. I wasn’t excited to go back home, to say the least, but my family had other obligations so we had to leave the following day.

Our plane left Los Angeles at 4:00 P.M. the next day. We had a two-hour layover in Seattle. My parents have a tradition of visiting the gift shops before flights. I decided I would stay at the boarding gate and do some homework. I started to pull out my math book when I looked up and saw HER. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

She had on black sandals, black Capri pants and a yellow tank top. She was sitting in the seat across from me reading a book on the Holocaust. Her shiny black hair hung down over her face and, when she brushed it back, I got a true glimpse of her beauty. I was completely entranced before she even knew I existed. I had to say something; I couldn’t let this go. How often does an opportunity like this come along? So I decided to introduce myself. I stood up and started to walk toward her. As I got closer, I realized that I wasn’t ready to talk to her yet. I had no idea of what to say or how to say it, so I walked right by her and straight into the bathroom. Yes, I know, smooth. After I conquered my nervousness, I walked up to the mirror and practiced. Yes, I practiced—and all you guys out there know exactly what I’m talking about. I looked in the mirror and went through every single possible way of introducing myself to her. Hello . . . Hey . . . How’s it goin’? . . . Haven’t I seen you somewhere before? I left the bathroom and, as I walked by her again, I paused then sat back down.

Finally, a breakthrough. It just so happened that when I looked up at her again, she was looking back. Our eyes connected. A warm feeling covered my body. Not a sweaty warmth, but an inner warmth that was beyond comparison. It was more than just a look; we made a connection, and I didn’t even know her name.

Something had to be done. I mustered up enough courage to casually look over at her luggage, which was under her chair, to see if I could read her name and where she was from.

Then, the worst possible thing that could happen in a situation like this happened. Her plane was leaving, and I had to do something. She started gathering up all her things, and I started to panic. This could be something special, and I was in jeopardy of letting it slip through my fingers. Then, all of a sudden, she stopped. She pulled out a piece of paper from her planner and started to write something. She stood up, walked over to me, handed me the piece of paper and left without a word. Written on it was, “Just in case you ever get bored,” followed by her address.

You know that feeling of complete and utter shock that you can’t even speak? Triple it, and that was me. I had no idea of what to do next. She had walked to her gate, and I was left wide-mouthed and speechless. No way was I going to let it end there, so I stood up and ran to the gate from where she was leaving. When I got there, she had just handed in her boarding pass and was walking down the ramp. I prayed and prayed for her to turn around, just once, to see me, but all I saw was the back of her head going down the ramp to the plane. She was gone.

Back home, my relationship with my girlfriend eventually fizzled out. I got a handle on my life again and, exactly one month after the encounter at the airport, I wrote her a letter hoping she would remember me. I got a letter back from her almost immediately saying not only did she remember me, but that she had hoped every day for a letter from me in her mailbox.

We are now celebrating our six-month anniversary. The connection I made that afternoon at the airport was more than just a guy being attracted to a girl. It was a connection of souls, much as my cousin’s was. We’ve had so many fun memories together, and we have plans for many more. Love found me that amazing day in September. It found my tired, doubtful self waiting at Gate C2D.

Dan Mulhausen

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