Allow me to preface by insisting this is not a story about missed chances at love. It is not intended to be, despite it’s appearance as one. Instead this is more of a case study, something to explore the tragedy of failed acquaintanceship.
The story starts at 5:20, normally an inconsequential time, but now somewhat important as I was not on a bus home as I should have been, now important as my tardiness would lead me to have to take an alternate route home, at a slightly later time. At 5:20, as opposed to being sat in a bus, whiling away the time I can afford to squander, I was stood in line for a different one, this one was significantly smaller, and it’s route significantly longer. It was until a minute or two later that I first saw her, quite cute, with tumbling red hair and with clear eyes staring down at the sidewalk. I looked away, not taking anymore glances as I assumed this was all I would ever think of her again, simply a pretty girl on the bus. I boarded the bus.
She chose to sit a few a seats ahead of me, such that I couldn’t really see her as she leaned into the seat. Then, surprisingly, she chose to move seats soon after sitting, she moved so that she was directly opposite me, so that we were in different rows, but right next to each other. This was the first thing that hinted to me perhaps she was interested in opening conversation with me. Then just a few seconds after she had sat down she was staring intently at me, which I responded to by meeting her gaze. After a few moments of two strangers peering at each other, she smiled shyly and turned away, facing the window. Once again I chose to ignore this as simply accidental.
As the bus began turning out of the station, I turned and looked at her, and soon once again we were meeting each others eyes and exploring what was hidden behind. I concluded she might be somewhat interested in at the very least getting to know me, but chose to leave it for a little bit, just so I could look back later and be certain that she was in fact looking at me. It wasn’t until after the next stop, as the bus started to fill up, that I chose to look over again. I really wanted to be certain that she was just as intrigued as me and hoped silently that she would meet my gaze. She did, and held it for the longer than the other times. My mind decided that I would try and move over to speak to her, I began to procrastinate over what to say and how I would be received. This is where my mistake was made, as opposed to being brave and speaking to her my nervousness and timid nature began giving my doubt of her interest, I went from certain to unsure swiftly, and soon was debating in my head how I would start the conversation. It was this procrastination that caused the missing of the connection, as I sat debating, we stopped again and a women got on, a women who chose to sit in the seat that I would have to in order to engage conversation. My chances of ever speaking to this girl had gone from decent to embarrassingly dismal.
To my dismay she did in fact get off the bus, casually looking back at me as she got out, only compounding my frustration. Now, I don’t want this to be looked on as a failed love story, or that I am pining after this girl, although there is a non-zero chance that is precisely what I am doing. I want to use this to explore human relations and their formations. It was so rare for me to be in such a situation that I somewhat panicked, and failed to achieve anything meaningful out of the events. It is intriguing to me that the majority of the people I know are either people who I have been to school with, worked with, or grown up alongside. In fact the only other meaningful relationship I have had with someone I met outside of school or work was with someone I met taking a sailing course. It is a tragedy of failed exploration or curiosity and my inability to simply engage with this girl haunts me. Not as much that she may have been a lover, but simply that she was another human being with a personality and interests that may have aligned or at the very least intersected occasionally with my own.
In my opinion it is a tragedy of human interaction that we have made up social norms and expectations that almost hinder social interaction. Or maybe this is all pointless drivel I have invented in my head to compensate for my immense timidity and fear of unprovoked interaction. Either way hopefully this story does in fact act as a case study towards the value of approaching people, and attempting interactions. Who knows what we could be missing out on.