This is a story about regrets.
I’m sure most everyone would love to say that they lived their lives without ’em. Seriously though, can anyone really be one hundred percent honest and certain about that? Regrets can encompass the simple action of being rude to someone important to you, or the major decision of what career path to take.
Let me tell you about one of my greatest regrets in life.
When my colleague, Sheila, and I went to Germany two years ago, we (naturally) took trains to get from one city to another. We were on the platform of Berlin Hauptbahnhof, waiting for our train to Hannover, when I saw him. He was walking towards our platform with an older man, maybe his father or uncle. I can’t remember if it was a backpack or a duffel bag that he was carrying, but I do remember he was wearing a black shirt, super baggy jeans (not usually my type, but hey) and a single earring in one eyebrow.
And he was the most handsome guy I’d seen during my trip.
For a couple of minutes, Sheila and I were sitting on a bench, enjoying the spectacular view that this guy treated us to. When the train arrived, we joined the rest of the throng, hustling our way to the nearest available seat. Unfortunately, as we were a pair of cheapskates who didn’t want to spend extra money on reserved seating, we ended up seat-less in the first compartment we entered. We felt like idiots squished up against the wall with all our luggage, while everyone else settled themselves in, train guy (referred to as “TG” from here onwards) included.
Though it meant parting with the guy we were utterly enamored with, we decided to move to the next compartment to try our luck there. TG was in one of the aisle seats with his leg stretched out, and I SWEAR it was pure coincidence that my suitcase bumped his foot as I lugged it by him. Of course, I apologized, and he said something like “it’s okay” or “no problem”.
We ended up taking two of those fold-up seats along the aisle, as all of the regular seats were occupied. Sheila and I made ourselves as comfortable as could be, resting our bags against our legs. Then the door slid open, and guess who walked in?
Yes, it was him. Apparently, he hadn’t gotten a reservation either and was forced to join us in our poor traveler seats. Sheila and I got to conspiring about the right strategy to getting his picture. Sheila attempted to take a stolen shot while appearing to just be scrolling through her photos. But it wouldn’t work, and it was painfully obvious that we were checking him out. We decided that if he’d still be there by the time we’d reached our stop, then we were meant to take a photo of/with him.
Well, we reached Hannover station, got off the train with TG right behind us, hung around the platform studying the departure/transfer notice with TG a couple inches beside us AND with the same lost look on his face as was on ours.
Downstairs in the concourse area, I stood right behind him as he tried to figure out where he’d go next. I lifted my hand to give him a tap on his shoulder, only to chicken out at the last minute and hurry up to the right platform in an air of embarrassment.
Looking back at it now, I can’t help but whack myself on the head. It hit me every single time Sheila and I recounted it to our officemates, and still continues to haunt me. It’s taken me so long to write about it, because the memory makes me cringe each time I think about it. It might sound incredibly pathetic to you (and it is, actually), but I really do have a thing about incredibly handsome strangers. Basically, I can’t talk to them. LOL.
The sad thing about it was that he was just as lost as we were. He was hanging around near us, and if either one of us only mustered up the courage to make the first move, we might’ve spent the ride getting to know each other a la Before Sunrise (oh, how I wish!). Because when we boarded the connecting train that would take us to our workshop in Bad Oeynhausen? Well, TG just happened to get on the same train, as well.
Talk about missed opportunities. And this, guys, is the face of regret–>