It was the swagger in his walk that I noticed first.
The waiting area in terminal C was a mixture of badly dressed men, leaning against columns and window sills as if they had more to offer than the general "hello". Not him. The way he walked across the room, balancing his energy like a runway model was enough to cause anyone to stare. I couldn't resist shifting in my own chair, wondering if what I was wearing was sensible. A black pair of pants and a see through men’s tank wasn't necessarily sexy, but it was comfortable for a 6 hours of travel time. He didn't walk too fast or too slow, he didn't exchange glances with onset traffic or even look around him. He was focused, deep in stride and confident.
I settled back into in my chair, unwrapped the aluminum foil around my sandwich and took a slow bite. The flight assistants weren't even at the console making calls or printing out boarding lists, and it was still pretty early in the afternoon. He wore a pair of perfectly fit dark blue jeans, the ones that barely touched his sneakers, and a blue T-Shirt. I watched the straps of his black messenger bag as he readjusted them in an unassuming way, taking out his cellphone from his pocket and turning his back to me.
I remember that I was perplexed by his simplicity as a man; not too tall, not too short either, skinny but not thin, he looked harmless but aggressive… and I enjoyed this juxtaposition. From first sightings, one could say that I liked him, but then again, I was known to like anything that resembled perplexity.
The flight crew arrived just as I started to concentrate on his sneakers. What were they? Vintage chucks? High tops? I could sense my legs naturally part as I sat up in my chair, leaned forward and touched my left wrist. There was something animalistic about the way my heart beat when I looked at his sneakers. It reminded me of a scene from 'Sex & Lucia', where Lucia had just finished telling Lorenzo that she had been following him, and you could instantly see her heart beating wildly in her eyes.
He crossed the room and sat down as the flight assistant began to announce the pre-boarding. I pulled out my wallet and took out my boarding pass, scanning it quickly to see what seat I was in before looking in his direction. I stood up, grabbed my bag and headed towards the line of eager travelers waiting to board the plane. The room felt musty and the slowness of the boarding process only added to the anxiety that was welling up inside of me.
I looked over my shoulder and saw that he was getting up to follow the line. Still on his phone, he shuffled his sneakers across the ground and re-adjusted the strap of this bag.
I boarded the plane, took my seat by the window and fastened my seat-belt. I watched the trail of people file down the isle, wondering about him, before I bent down to put my bag under my seat. I don't know if it was the blood rushing to my head or the sight of his vintage sneakers that caused the pressure around me to drop. He stopped at the aisle seat of my row, pulled off his bag and sat down. It's that moment where one becomes the prey and for an instant dares to think of what it might actually feel like to get caught. He looked over at me and smiled.
It was knowing that everything and anything was going to happen that made me pulsate ridiculously. I tugged at the side of my tank top, adjusted the straps of my bra and smiled back.