When I boarded my flight to Rome, I never could have imagined what was waiting for me. As they announced “boarding 1st class”, a beautiful lady, dressed very chic, boarded. Soon after I walked on, I noticed she was headed to the back of the plane. Never being one to miss an opportunity to be a smart ass, I said something about her boarding and not being first class. She replied that she was Diamond Medallion and could board whenever she wanted. Between her tone and the fact that she was so classy, I put my guard up. I tend to do that when someone like her pushes back.
You can imagine my surprise when I went to my seat, and she was getting comfortable right next to me. I made a passing joke, but in my mind, I was thinking this is going to be the longest nine hour flight of my life. Rachelle, as I soon learned her name was, made it clear that she had no interest in chatting. She was going to work, take a Xanex, and go to sleep. That was fine with me.
The short version is that we yapped until we both fell asleep and then started again when we woke up. Rachelle is very accomplished professionally, and we found quite a bit to talk about. We hugged, exchanged numbers, and went out own ways.
Saturday afternoon, she texted asking about meeting for coffee. We wound up having dinner together at an amazing restaurant the hotel suggested. We really didn’t have dinner; we had a four-hour dining experience that included conversation as if we had known each other for years, not hours. Tears are rolling down my face as I write this for multiple reasons.
I felt so grateful that a woman of Rachelle’s caliber both professionally and personally would find me so “amazing,” as she said. It was incredible how much we had to share with each other… not just say, but truly share. The second part is even bigger in some ways. There was a time I would never have been able to spend time, much less have a deep meaningful conversation with someone like Rachelle. It was my insecurity and lack of self-worth that held me back. It would never have anything to do with the other woman. When she asked about getting together, I didn’t give it a second thought. Of course I wanted to spend more time together and build on the connection we had started on the flight over.
We discussed our accomplishments and our insecurities like two old friends. Our souls connected in addition to our hearts and our minds. This was yet another valuable lesson about getting out of the way and allowing myself to be led. My snide remark about her getting on the plane early was just that. Although initially intimidated, I stayed open. Look what a great gift I had waiting as soon as I got out of the way.
I realized something after we parted ways and I had some time to think about our time together. It turns out I was drawn to this strong, accomplished, and talented woman because I am one as well. WOW! I never imagined thinking that about myself, much less admitting it to the world. I believe Rachel and I have the beginnings of a beautiful relationship. The best part is that she only lives about 5 hours from me, in a place I love, Savannah. Rachelle, thank you for letting me get to know you, and in doing so, learn more about myself.
It will be great to see what else the universe has in store for us…