I know I know the waitress from somewhere. She’s pretty distinctive-looking, but it’s over an hour before I figure it out.
I say to F, That waitress was on my flight to LA. The one that got delayed.
Really? he says.
Yeah, she was wearing a gold miniskirt.
You should tell her.
I don’t know, I say. That flight was two years ago…
He goes for a cigarette. She brings me another wine. I think about it. I almost do it. But I don’t. It’s strange that I remember her. She would find it strange.
You should know that sometimes I do things just so I can write to you about them. I was thinking about you as I worked up the courage.
We finish eating. She’s politely averting her eyes as F enters his PIN.
This is gonna sound really weird, I say.
She leans towards me.
But… were you on a delayed flight to LA two years ago? Like, six hours in Melbourne airport?
As soon as I say it, I hear how it sounds. Two years ago! Maybe she flies to LA all the time! Oh god.
Yes! she says.
Yeah, I stood behind you in the customs queue at LAX, I say.
Really? she says. That flight was a nightmare! I missed my connection.
Totally, I say. I remember you were wearing a gold miniskirt. I thought: this woman’s my hero.
Oh, she says, thanks!
She gives me a thumbs up as she says it. And walks away.
I get a little rush of adrenalin. The rush of reaching out to a stranger. The rush of being in transit for twenty-four hours, and not speaking, but remembering. The rush of an impression made. And of being here, two years later, in the same place, at the same time. Of going through that together. Of realising the world is small. That we should talk to each other more. That we should acknowledge each other. That we should be kind. That we should look each other in the eye.
It lasts about twenty seconds before the shame kicks in. I remember what she was wearing two years ago. And now she knows it.
So, cool story, but that’s another restaurant I can’t go back to.
A version of this post was sent by email on the 18th March 2018 as part of Internet Care Package.
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