Sunday, 22 January 2012

An inconvenient trip

Back in July of 2008, I was stressed.  I'd made plans to attend an improv comedy conference in Portland, Oregon earlier in the year.  I also found myself moving into a new apartment.  The move was scheduled for the day after I returned home from the conference.  I was still sort of looking forward to the trip, but the move was taking the majority of my attention.  I'd packed all my things prior to leaving, and headed to Portland without any expectations of what would happen there.  I told myself that the trip was going to be an inconvenience and that if I'd known I would be moving, I wouldn't have gone.  Little did I know, it was the most important trip I'd ever take.

The conference turned out to be really fun.  It was a great stress reliever and I had a good time.  I mean, what else can you expect from a conference full of improvisational comedians?!  As the week went on, I met lots of people.  I met people who were outrageously funny, completely irritating, totally fascinating, and then some that didn't catch my attention at all.

The last night of the conference, whilst standing in an alley, one of those people that hadn't caught my attention leaned in for a quick kiss.  I pulled back, embarrassed to be caught unaware.  Smooched by a stranger in public!  This stranger and I went for a walk around downtown Portland.  We awkwardly made our way in loops and circles in a town unfamiliar to us both.  I'm not sure if we held hands.  I know we talked.  And talked.  And talked.  We talked about his life back in England.   The big things: that his sister and parents were dead.  The little things:  he spoke French and a bit of Italian.  I told him about my life in Dallas, my family and job and other stuff I don't really remember that was just chatter to fill the air.  We walked and talked for what seemed like hours.  I knew when we stopped we'd kiss again and I was so nervous that I both couldn't wait and was trying to prolong it as much as possible.

Eventually we did kiss.  And, oh those kisses!  Those kisses were filled with magic.

The next morning, this British stranger came back to my hotel room and took me for coffee at Starbucks.  I had a Chai Tea Latte.  He had a black coffee.  We talked some more.  I told him that I made a really killer Chicken Pot Pie, not knowing he was a vegetarian.  He asked me to go back to Manchester with him that very day.  I laughed and declined, thinking I'd never see him again.  He gave me his card and kissed me goodbye when my ride to the airport showed up.

As I buckled my seat belt to fly back to Dallas and move to a new apartment, a text message came through on my phone.  This stranger had been very sneaky!  The message said how much he'd enjoyed meeting me.  I smiled a big, cheesy grin.  I thought how much fun my little romance had been.  I still thought I'd never see him again.

Today, that stranger is sitting at our dining table doing some work.  I'm sitting on our couch with pictures from our wedding on the wall behind me.  I'm supposed to be resting because I'm about 6 weeks away from bringing our first child into the world.  This man is not a stranger any more.  And he's certainly caught my attention now.

And all because I took a trip that was highly inconvenient.

This post is an entry into Thomas Cook's "Write and Win a Kindle" Contest.  If you'd like to enter, you can too!
(But do it quick because the contest ends today...)


  1. This story makes me absurdly happy.

    Thank you for sharing it with the world, Meg, and keeping (at least my) hope alive.

  2. Thanks guys. I have to admit that writing a sentimental post and then attempting to read it to Ross before publishing was too much for my pregnant emotions to handle. I may have reduced my own fool-self to a blubbering mess with an after-crying headache.

  3. Meg,

    I think it's important to tell your story to a) give single folks hope that strange things do happen, and b) just to share. I was having a lonely expat moment today and finding this helped!

    My story is similar and I went into a bit more detail, which I always wonder about. This too was "approved" by the husband. If you want to compare notes: