New York: The Un - Instagramable_Part 2
So, as I was saying, cute guy from across the restaurant was my airplane neighbor, and I wanted to talk to him! He looked like he would make an amazing conversational partner for the ride. Yep, this is an introvert talking to you, so take my word for it, not a lot of people are worth the effort of conversation. Then again, some conversations are effortless, just as this one would soon prove itself to be.
We had 15 hours ahead of us. That part… remained nerve racking. I took my seat after shily saying hello. His mother - I would learn a few hours later – sat next to him, leaving an empty seat between them, in the four-seat row that was assigned to the three of us.
It must have been about 10 minutes after I sat down. I handed cute airplane neighbor an airline toiletry case, after which he replied with a smile
“where are you from?”
For those who followed my Third Culture Kid initiative, #TCK, last year, you know how long it takes for me to answer that question. And so, I started. It was nice to have someone to talk to, who genuinely seemed interested in what I had to say. In the way you tell your life story to a stranger who you may or may not see again, friendly enough and interested enough to listen to you, I did, or at least the part that explained why I had bought a ticket to New York alone. I surprised myself at sharing the details of my heartache and he surprised me with his kind responses.
My head draped with nothing but my very very short haircut (from getting a buzz cut the month before) my confidence had taken a hit. Somedays I felt really cool and free. Other days I feared having to open my closet, because I may not find myself feminine enough with the combination of a dress and what felt like too boyish a haircut. In that instant, sitting there in the plane, I felt seen by him, and it felt like I hadn’t gotten that attention in a while. It felt…dare I say it… reassuring. My “I still got it!” moment, my Ayesha Curry moment, you feel me? Hahahaha except that’s totally different…but you feel me, no?
It’s not that a boyish cut was the reason for me feeling like I was getting no attention. It was the fact that my lack of confidence had caused me to look painfully uncomfortable, and that made all the difference.
After the 15-hour flight, only pausing our multiple conversations to sleep and quickly browse through what could entertain us on the screens in front of us, me and cute guy from the plane (I ain’t trying to objectify him he was more than just cute, and I am in trouble if he stumbles upon this article ^^) parted friends. I even got an invite to Philly, where him and his mother were headed. Shout out to you, if you do ever read this 😊.
Hands trembling, I managed to get myself into an Uber. This shout out is dedicated to my colleague, friend and brother who had allowed me to travel from Abidjan with his T-Mobile sim card, enabling me to order my Uber!
In the Uber, I looked around for familiarity, the sensation of awe New York had left me when I had looked at it for the first time, through the eyes of a 12-year-old. The amazement did not come. I felt neither in awe nor out of place. I rest my back on the car seat, staring at the window, wondering where I would get lost first… if I would even have the courage to step out of my hotel room once I found it.
A few minutes into my Uber ride into the city, Karmen, my cousin called me.
« Meg? Ca va? » she asked, sounding a little concerned.
I replied that she didn’t have to worry. I really wished she had traveled with me, because I was scared. I’ve always been afraid of getting lost. Lost and broken-hearted? Wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake!
“You’ll be fine” she tried to reassure me. “How long will it take you to get to the hotel?”
I replied it would take about an hour. To my surprise, she exclaimed “An hour?! That’s a lot of time”
“Well, I mean, more like 45 minutes, I think” I said, all the while thinking “What’s it to her anyways?
That, right there, should have been my first clue!
If you’ve read me this far, until next time.