Thursday, September 6, 2012

The one that got away

One night in Belarus.

I was on a working trip to Europe, spending a week in Belarus doing some contracting work, when I saw her.  

A few coworkers and I ended up at an Irish bar, O'Neil's.  Is it strange that no matter where you go there seems to be an Irish bar?

We'd been disappointed with the local strip club, the dancers were hot and enthusiastic, but it seemed like the kind of place where you might head to the bathroom and disappear forever.  The kind of place where the bouncer glares at the visitors, doesn't speak english, and you get the impression that he beats the girls at the end of the night if they don't make enough money.

So, walking around the town, half drunk and just waiting to get mugged, we literally stumble upon O'Neil's.  One quick look at the bright green lights, the shamrocks, the brightly lit Guiness signs and we were in love.  As a bonus, they also sold Cuban cigars.

We get a seat outside, order some smokes and beers, and settle in for some serious drinking.  Every 30 seconds or so an absolutely gorgeous woman walked by the bar, adding some sex appeal to the night.  Gotta love eastern Europe.  Who needs strip clubs when the average woman is super-model hot and barely wears any clothes to begin with?

We have a few rounds, we're having a great time, and I notice an exceptionally attractive woman walk out of the bar.  She looks delicate, porcelain skin, dark hair, and eyes that dreams are made of.  She's wearing a slinky green dress, and a low cut, cream colored blouse.  She walks out of the bar, looks around, then walks back in.

In my mostly-drunken stupor, I figure she's probably an employee, maybe a manager, checking up on things outside.  I don't really think anything of it, other than to notice she's incredibly beautiful.

Ten minutes later she does it again.  Again, I don't really think anything of it.

By the time she comes out the third time we'd been drinking for a good hour or so.  She walks out, looks around, glances at her phone and walks back in.  This time I notice that she seems kind of annoyed, and she's not looking at the customers, each time she walks out she looks up and down the street, then goes back in.

A little later I went into the bar, looking for the bathroom.  The mystery woman was sitting at the bar, half finished drink in front of her, texting on her phone.

That's when it clicked.

It had taken my drunken mind far too long to connect the dots.  She didn't work there, she was in the middle of being stood up.  The impossibility of it contributed to how long it took to process.  How any guy would fail to move mountains to keep a date with her I'll never know. 

I sit down with my coworkers again, a few minutes later she repeats her routine, and I tell myself that if her date hasn't shown up in another five minutes than I'm going to go in there and introduce myself.

Granted, I was drunk, and she probably didn't speak any English, but in my head I figured a good smile would at least make her night.  Who knows?  Maybe a smile would be all it would have taken to lift her spirits after a long night of waiting for the douche who didn't even show.  I'm drunk and American, therefore I assumed I was also charming enough to win this gorgeous woman in a foreign country that probably wouldn't understand a word I said (probably to both our advantages).

I drink my beer, I glance at my watch.  I drink some more beer, keep an eye on the time, pretend to pay attention to the stupid conversation between drunken coworkers.  Idiots.

Five minutes are up.  I walk into the bar, drunkenly trying to come up with a pick up line that didn't immediately scream "I'm a stupid, horny, drunk American" and failing miserably.

Her seat is empty.  The half finished drink remains untouched, the ice melted, the condensation soaking the bar napkin beneath.  Maybe she just got up to use the bathroom, I think.  I wait a few minutes, still nothing.  She's gone.

I missed her.  I missed the opportunity.  It was one of those sparks that one comes across so infrequently in life, a spark that echoes into the core of our beings, something undeniable.  And I missed it.

I missed it.

The one that got away...

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