Her openness caught me off guard, but caught me none the less. Thirty something, with girl-next-door features and long auburn hair, I wasn't disappointed that my airline ticket said 45C.
Stowing briefcase and camera bag, I deliberated whether to answer by way of smile or comment.
"Are you from Ft. Myers or just vacationing," I decided, not realizing the depth of the question.
"Neither," she said, drawing back ever so slightly, deciding just how much to reveal to this stranger. "I'm from California and visiting my mother in Punta Gorda."
"Not on vacation?" I queried.
"Not really. My mom's 81 and not well. I've been coming here every six weeks to check on her...it's just become too much...this time I've come to take her home." And then looking dead in my eyes, "I'm scared."
I hesitated. Electricity filled the air. It's not often such trust is handed over to a complete stranger. For all I knew, at that moment she could've been a sorceress come to test me. I handled her admission gently and revealed a similar fear in exchange. It was then that time accelerated.
Like peeling the skin off an onion, each of us revealed more and more of ourselves to the other. She was a writer -- why me too! She had left a successful career to follow a dream -- so had I! Richard Bach a favorite author? Her's too! She shared a melody she'd written, I shared a column. She handed over a set of lyrics, I presented her with a newsletter. And then we found ourselves in the heart of the onion. What's your life philosophy? Why are we here? What's most important? What are your dreams?
The two hour flight from Atlanta was compressed into what seemed like five minutes.
How exciting to meet someone who has similar interests! Someone so open, so curious, traveling a parallel path and willing to expose their fears and dreams and deepest self. What greater compliment can you receive from someone than to be given a look at their soul?
This was one of those magical times where interest, surprise, amazement, goose bumps and tingles all converged. How nice to meet you and what a neat person you are and I wish you all the best and may your life become everything you want it to be -- I'm so glad I met you!
And then lightning struck.
How many similar connections are missed because we're slow to reveal ourselves to others first? How many other travelers had I sat next to, hiding behind the facade, missing similar opportunities? For once the baggage came too quickly, and then she was smiling a so long that said don't forget.
What if this sorceress from 45D had appeared to teach that EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, was goose bumps and tingles if only we had the courage to reveal ourselves first?
At that moment, watching her slip away into the night, I chose to believe so.
Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at www.MikeJohnson.biz