It was right off of a page from my fantasy book: meeting an Italian man on a flight. Only it took me a while to recognize what was happening.
I’d noticed him staring at me when I plopped my backpack down in the flight waiting area. This was Munich airport, my third country and fourth flight in 24 hours. Weather had delayed and effed up my travel plans, and I was eager to get to Pisa.
I caught him looking and he looked away. I sussed him out. No ring. Spotty acid washed jeans. German? No, definitely Italian.
He looked at me a few times more. I was exhausted and not in the mood. I got up, went to the restroom, then sat elsewhere.
When the line queued, I ended up right behind him. Great. I did my best to look busy.
PLEASE don’t have our seats together. Please. I silently prayed (to whom, I don’t know. The goddess of seat arrangements?).
Naturally, he plunked down in the seat next to my assigned seat. Fuck.
He said something far too complicated for my basic Italian understanding, and I told him in Italian that I only spoke a little. He asked if I wanted the window seat. I said no thank you.
I sat down and immediately closed my eyes. What was with this guy? Surely he doesn’t find me attractive, I thought, as a whiff of 24 hours of travel puffed up out of my t-shirt.
I cracked my eyes, looking for the beverage tray.
“Ah, now that you are not sleeping, can I ask the meaning of your tattoo?”
I begrudgingly entered into conversation with him, and tried to see the silver lining. Sure, I was fucking tired. My Italian was shot. But he was kinda cute, and we could practice our language skills with one another.
Turned out he was in the Italian Navy. Divorced. Two kids. 34. Not bad as far as statistics go.
He asked about my plans. I was intentionally vague.
“When we get off the plane, we can go to dinner,” he asked/suggested in that Italian way.
I demurred. I’d just been talking to my friends about how, much as I’d love to meet a man in Italy, I’d be too scared that something would go badly (me in a thousand chopped up pieces) and no one would know what happened.
“I can take you to your hotel then,” he countered.
Again, no. He accepted the rejection in stride.
When we got off the plane, my luggage was nowhere to be found. I knew that would happen after all my travel fuckups. He went with me to the assistance office, though I shrugged off his offer to help. He sat there as I filed a claim, occasionally interjecting with some Italian comment to the employee helping me.
“Now what will you do? How can I help?” he asked as we headed for the airport exit.
“Nothing, really. You’ve been very sweet. I’m going to sleep. I’m so tired.” Like a zombie, I headed to the nearest ATM.
“Well, I leave you then.” He leaned in for the very Italian double cheek kiss, and I complied.
Nice guy. Probably he didn’t want to murder me.
When I checked into my hotel, I sent him a thank you note on Whatsapp. He responded:
Now that you have understand I’m not a serial killer could it be pleasure for you if tomorrow we go together to the famous tower? Please don’t say me no!
Hm. An enticing offer. Daylight. No car rides to the countryside. I could do this. I said yes.
Once I woke up a little, I realized that this was exactly what I’d dreamed of. Meeting a man on a plane. Him being dazzled by my looks (and my smell). Him offering to be my tour guide.
Here’s hoping he doesn’t sell my organs on the black market…stay tuned for the rest of the story.