There was something about the way we made eye contact. In those brief seconds, I felt myself become akin to this man, a man I didn't know. No longer were we strangers, as those seconds filled the distance and years that lead up to this moment.
There wasn't anything particularly striking about him. His white skin and male privilege dressed him easily, and occasionally I would catch him cracking a smile as toddlers waddled by like penguins, barely able to keep themselves from tripping over their own two feet. Stubble sat on his chin, a deep brown like his smooth hair; that smooth hair that you just knew he ran a hand full of hairgel through after his morning shower.
As I dosed off, I'd catch him peering over his shoulder in my direction. My mind told me it could be a number of things: he either didn't think I was pretty, or he though me to be incredbily so; I was drooling and he might have been entertaining himself by it, or he just couldn't take his eyes off my piercings, like most people.
Speculation got me nowhere, so I didn't find out what it was about me that beckoned him to glance over every chance he got. But as I sat there, making a marvel of his porcelain face, I realized that this romanticized reality need not end, as it was the whipping of my own mind and with it I might run and play a fun game called happiness. I might imagine love and romance coming with me to the beach, holding one hand as the other held on to a melting cone of gelato while the Portuguese sun beat down on us.
For a moment, a stranger gave me promise of a reality that, in some alternate universe, could have been the most beautiful romance of my life... But I watched him step off that plane without uttering a word. Sometimes our fantasies do exist only for our dreams, and like many others, I had to let this one go.