The Boy in the Red Hat

It’s about 12:30 AM and I wait in one of the many lines at Thai immigration. I’ve been up since 4:00 AM and exhaustion hit a long time ago. That’s when I see him standing a few lines away. He wears a red baseball cap over his brown hair that sticks out in the back to match his “I’ve been backpacking through South East Asia” beard. At the profile his nose is a perfect triangle. He’s not particularly beautiful, but I can’t stop staring. He turns to face me as if hearing my inner monologue. Oh, wow. I take it back. He is definitely beautiful.

We play a game of tag where mainly I stare and he sometimes catches me. But as we creep to the front of our lines, I notice the playing field begins to even and his eyes linger my way until I feel my cheeks burn red. I get through the passport police before him but the unwavering eye contact between us as I walk to the top of the escalator makes me smile.

I disappear out of arrivals and into departures to wait for my connecting flight. It’s about 1AM now and I sit in a chair next to a power outlet. I charge my phone and clutch my neck pillow. This is when the daydreams about my encounter at immigration begin. I fantasize that this man goes down the escalator, exits customs and heard right, not left where the taxis, buses, and trains for Bangkok City are. He walks up to the third floor because like me he will sleep at the airport. My imagination is quick to come up with how we meet, what I would say, how immaculate my hair would be. A silly grin spills over my lips as I think how unlikely it would all be. I resign myself to sleep without daring to think of things such as meant to be.

I slump in my chair just in time to hear footstep. Without moving, my eyes search for the noise and I’m suddenly really self-conscious about my posture and the neck pillow that’s strapped under my chin. The very man I wished for walks in front of me. Our eyes are glued to one another and I’m sure mine have the look of a scared animal. He smiles big and I feel my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth.

It takes me several moments to recover from fate’s cruel humor. I feel the urge to run after him, search for him in the sea of makeshift airport beds. What would I say? What would I do? Of all the dramatic airport encounter scenarios, the only wish I have is to know his name. When I finally leave my chair, it’s to go brush my teeth and wash my face.

I wake up a couple of times throughout the early morning and each time I think of him. I can’t believe it. I practically begged fate like a 13 year old girl and received more than I sign. I could haves and should haves weave into my half awake, half asleep dreams.

The next morning, I get up to a sea of people coming from and going to who knows where. I sit. I feel blue. I know I am a fool! With a sigh I wonder if he thinks himself a fool, too.

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