I had decided I was done with dating “for fun.” It wasn't enough for me, anymore, to go out for dinner with someone when I already knew in my heart that he wasn't going to be the one. So, when I saw his big brown eyes on his much-too-young-looking face across the lobby at a Los Angeles airport hotel, I gave a small smile, got my key, and headed for my room without looking back.
But, he did not stop looking. He sat in that lobby until I came back down, which was several hours later. I was waiting in front of the hotel for my brother to pick me up for dinner when I heard his "Hallo." His accent was thick, so I said hello and asked where he was from. He was an engineering student from Germany, traveling around the West Coast.
He was also 22 years old. I was just about to turn 30. Well, enough said, right? Even if there wasn't an ocean between us — and a big one — he was 22. He definitely had another decade of dating to do, and I had no interest in being on that list. So, when my brother pulled up, I told him to have a safe trip back home.
I had a nice sushi & saki buzz as I returned to the hotel a few hours later. Was I shocked to see him sitting in the lobby! "I wanted to talk to you, so I had a burger and a beer and waited for you," he said. We sat there and talked as if we'd known each other for years, until 2 in the morning. Then, we said good night, but met the next morning for breakfast, and before he had to leave for his flight back to Germany, we exchanged addresses. And one kiss.
There wasn't email back then, and now I'm glad there wasn't as I saved every one of his letters. And there were a lot. He wrote once a week for a year. But, I kept thinking there is no way this could lead to anything. Even if he did want a serious relationship, I felt he should have many relationships before even thinking about settling down. "Why would I want to be with a lot of other people when I've already found more than I could ever have hoped for?"
Well, that was 18 years ago. We have lived in five states, two countries, have two bilingual children, and even our collie has flown over the Atlantic. We currently live on an apple farm with a stunning view of the Swiss Alps. I teach English to kindergarten children at a Swiss International School that my children attend. My husband is a professional chef and skilled home renovator.
To think I almost wrote this wonderful guy off because of a few years age difference!