Have you ever wanted to thank someone for not showing up? On my recent trip to Bangkok, I felt like I was nearly experiencing déjà vu, having gone through similar scenarios of being let down by guys in various parts of the world. While exploring the markets and tasting the street food during the days or checking out the many chic rooftop bars at night, my mind wandered to those past trips that included failed hopes of romance. My journey to Australia in 2011 to reunite with a love interest that blossomed over the internet, my last minute cancellation to Croatia in 2012 after one heavily pursuant mogul turned flaky just days before departure, and most recently this January, in Madrid, where flirtations with a friend lead to many unfulfilled promises.
So why now, had these feelings all resurfaced in Bangkok, with these guys distantly out of mind, leaving me with only the learning experiences? Simple arrangements to meet up with an attractive, traveling friend were actively falling through the cracks.
First he had planned on meeting me in Hong Kong the week prior, but as I approached my third day there, his business travel schedule had not yet allowed him to pop over from Singapore, then my arrival in Bangkok was inconveniently the day after his departure for some other land, yet part of me still had hope when he said he’d try to make it back before I left.
As my second to last day in Bangkok was winding down, I had taken care of some daily spa and shopping errands, then at the last minute, decided to squeeze in one last green tea ice cream from the Siam Paragon food court.
Afterwards, while waiting in the sweltering hot taxi line outside of the mall, I encountered a new glimmer of hope. Not one that required me to make elaborate plans, nor someone who gave me false hopes strong enough to fly around the world, but a simple cute guy with a friendly smile, helping me pass the time in line instead of baking in the outdoor sauna.
By the time we reached our individual taxis, we’d realized that we had enough in common to exchange Facebook contacts and make plans to meet up later that night.
On the cozy lounge bed at Park Society at the Sofitel So, we talked for hours, not wanting to go our separate ways at the end of the night, and then met up the next day for dinner at Hyde & Seek followed by people watching on the other side of the tracks, aka…Koh San Road.
Leaving the third day both to return to our own separate parts of the world, we knew we had made a mark in each others’ minds and each others’ hearts, and all of this without even sharing a kiss. Feeling a bit of sadness and loss on my flight home, I was comforted by touching the new butterfly charm on my necklace, a gift from my new special friend.
In the following weeks, we returned to our routines, of work, gym, social lives in our respectful homes yet did everything to make it feel like the other was there partaking in the day to day. Talking on the phone often and sending pictures of friends, family members and activities made the time pass more easily before our reunion in Antalya.
And then the day finally arrived, where we met up in the domestic departures terminal of Istanbul Ataturk Airport, my having crossed through security already, he still needing to pick up his boarding pass, we shared our first kiss, across the security barricade. It was sweet, perfect, exciting and unique, just like my special friend, and having tried my hardest to not have any preconceived expectations of this trip, it was much more than I could have hoped for.
We traveled together to Antalya and spent an amazing week together at the Royal Adam & Eve Resort.
There was not a dull moment had, from getting to know the intricacies of one another’s personalities to memorizing each others’ faces with kisses. Of course our mutual senses of humor were much needed as we enjoyed sharing inside jokes about many of the other guests who took their clubbing and nightlife ever so seriously.
One curious detail that came of our many conversations were our individual activities in Bangkok that day, leading up to our meeting in the taxi line. Myself shopping, trying exotic foods, and getting a manicure and pedicure, while my friend, taking care of a little last minute shopping for himself and his sister.
As original plans would have had it, I would have left Siam Paragon about 35 minutes prior, but decided to walk back into the food court, explore a bit more and stop for one last green tea ice cream with sticky rice, and his shopping trip was cut short due to not getting into contact with his sister about sizes.
So, as we both departed the mall at the same, unplanned time and arrived in the taxi line one after the other, it occurred to me that no matter how much effort in planning you can make to cross paths with someone in the world, it’s really the timing that’s everything.
In the end, a beautiful relationship blossomed, leaving us both with short-term lumps in our throats and long-term plans for weaving our futures together. Now only a few days after having parted, I received a message on Facebook from that traveling friend who didn’t follow through on our plans to meet up in Asia a few months back.
Although I haven’t replied yet, I could only receive his message with a smile and a good deal of gratitude, knowing that I must reply soon to thank him from the bottom of my heart, for not showing up. Then perhaps after that, I’ll thank the other three long lost romances for the learning experiences that they provided me, which led to the opportunity to enter this loving relationship with the absolute sweetest of surprises that comes from an open heart and lack of planning.
On second thought, maybe I’ll just let this article serve as the thank you note, since they’re bound to come across this sooner or later. Yes, that’s more my style!