It's funny how we never know where the most unexpected of meetings might lead.
You can pass someone in the street and give them a fleeting glance, not knowing that at some point they may change your life forever.
I'd seen her name a few times as I was passing through but didn't pay it any attention. It was an ordinary name, not eye catching, but I remembered it because it was there a few times. Then one day we spoke, I can't remember who said the first word but it was most likely me, I indulge in small talk, to be sociable I guess, it's what I do, it doesn't mean anything. It's part of my personality to talk to strangers, only this time it had unimaginable repercussions. I don't even remember what was said but slowly, over a period of time, I came to look for her every time I passed through. Then I wasn't passing through anymore, I was deliberately coming to talk to her, I looked forward to our seemingly innocent chats.
On this particular occasion when I came by she was already in conversation with two or three others, people I knew, acquaintances. She was discussing a party and inviting people when she noticed me and said,
'Will you come to my birthday party?'
'Where is it?' I replied, not wishing to appear too eager
'It's at my home in the midlands' she replied not knowing that I lived in the south.
'That's a bit far for me to go to a party' I said, and she seemed a little crestfallen but agreed it was a long way.
I stayed, but dropped out of the conversation and just sat there listening to them chat for a while. A few days after as it grew late in the evening we found ourselves alone for a few minutes.
She suddenly blurted out, ' Oh please come to my party, I really want you to, please.'
I sensed something in her tone, maybe urgency, maybe curiosity, but whatever it was she persisted until I agreed. Over the several weeks leading up to her party we chatted more frequently and became quite close in a detached way. There seemed to be no barriers between us and we discussed everything and anything that took our fancy. Almost imperceptibly we developed an intimacy that was very special and beyond my experience. By the time the party day arrived we had become soul mates, telling each other our secret thoughts, hopes, dreams and fears. Nothing was said, but we both knew we were destined to become lovers, it was out of our hands, and a kind of expectant excitement was growing in our hearts and minds.
As I drove north to attend the party apprehension started to flood into my mind, what if we didn't like each other, why the hell am I doing this. You see, although we had been talking for weeks now, we had never actually met; we had become what are known as cyber friends, meeting in a chat room on the Internet. These places can be dangerous for the unwary, not just for women, but men too. I had determined to meet her in private, for no other reason than to give us both the chance to walk away if either of us were disappointed.
The phone in my room rang shattering the silence and sending a rush of adrenaline coursing through my body, as I lifted the receiver I was gripped by fear at what I believed would be the most terrifying meeting of my life.
'There's a lady to see you in reception' the desk clerk said.
'Would you direct her to room two please' I replied.
I stepped outside the room to meet her on the landing expecting her to come up the staircase before me. My throat was dry and my hands felt moist, there was no sign of her. A door opened at the far end of a corridor and I turned my head at the noise. A slim woman with long dark hair was walking towards me, looking at me with unblinking eyes, I froze as I recognised her from a picture she'd sent me, she was half smiling and her step never faltered. She walked right up to me and without saying a word threw her arms around my neck and kissed me full on the lips.
We clung to each other for a full sixty seconds or so, then as I led her into my room and closed the door I said, 'Are you disappointed?'
Shaking her head nervously, she replied, ''Oh no. I'm not disappointed at all'
Laughing in the way that frightened people do I answered her, 'Neither am I.'
Two months later I still marvel at her boldness and trust in agreeing to meet a stranger in a hotel room several miles from her home. I also shudder slightly that she could have made a fatal mistake if I had been someone else. I find it hard to remember the exact sequence of events that led to this transition from strangers to lovers but it must be very similar, apart from the circumstances of the first meeting, to a million other stories, maybe yours!