Airport Friendships: Unexpected, Awkward, and Extremely Sentimental

Hello beautiful souls!!! It’s been a hot second. I’ve been extremely anxious and stressed about the fast approaching future after graduation and everything that comes with the transition I’m about to embark on. With that anxiety came a serious creative rut, so I apologize for being MIA the last couple of weeks.

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of flying to Nashville to see a concert and hang out with all my Nash friends. It was so great to get away for a weekend and see people I haven’t seen in a year.

Well, this story starts on the plane ride to that weekend.

It was like any other time I travel somewhere. I got the worst seat in the plane because I’m too cheap to buy a good one. I was sitting in between two strangers in the back of the plane, headphones in, listening to “Taylor Swift Complete Collection” on Spotify (did you expect anything else?). I gazed awkwardly forward because honestly where do you look when you’re sitting in the middle seat?? To my left, sitting in the window seat was a girl who appeared to be my age, actively reading a book (I mean, highlighter out, underlining in full motion, active).

She turns to me minutes before the flight takes off, taps me on the arm, and offers me gum. I delightfully take it, who doesn’t love a good minty chew as you take off?

For the most part, the plane ride is like any other. I watch downloaded episodes of The Office on my phone and try to avoid any and all conversations with the strangers sitting around me. It almost worked, until 5 minutes before departing the plane, I felt the need to thank the girl for the gum (common courtesy, right?) With that, she compliments one of my rings.

I tell her thanks, and explain where I got it from (my v talented gal pal Natalie). We talk a little bit about her Etsy shop before the girl asks where I’m flying to. I tell her Nashville, and she asks more follow up questions. I tell her the reason I’m going there, what concert I’m seeing, and of course she knows and loves the band.

Trying to be a decent human being, I return the question to her, and she tells me about her trip to Alabama to visit her sister.

We depart the plane and walk in the same direction. I ask her where her gate is and it is in a similar direction as mine. We continue to walk awkwardly next to each other, until a couple minutes pass and she says, “well, while we walk awkwardly in the same direction, I’m Madison.”

We chatted a little bit more and realized we both had a 3 hour layover. We stopped at a bathroom and took turns watching the other’s bags as we went.

We began walking again and both mentioned how hungry we were and that we wanted to find food. Neither one of us asked the other if they wanted to get food together, it was just established at this point that we would find food and eat together.

We walked along the terminal, browsing all of the wonderful culinary options the Charlotte airport offered (not much), stopping into every convenience store to look for any magazines with Taylor Swift’s face on it (you know, for my collection).¬† We came across a Mexican restaurant, and decided to stop in. We sat down, rollers treading beside us, Spanish music blasting louder than it should be. The waiter brings us our menus as we browse the selection.

“Damn,” I thought, “This is really expensive for not a very nice restaurant.” I wasn’t about to say that out loud to my friend of 20 minutes, so I kept to myself, looking through all of the overpriced options.

The waiter comes to take our order, and we both look at each other, communicating through facial expressions, and Madison looks back at the waiter and says, “I think we’ll just do chips and salsa.”

He walks away and she looks back at me. “Were you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“That this place is lame and overpriced?”

She laughs and agrees with me. “I love that we met 20 minutes ago and can already communicate through looks.”

We shared the $7 chips and salsa, paid the check, and walked out.

“Well, where to next?” I asked.

We walked toward our connecting flight terminal, and decided to stop by Starbucks. We both got coffee and a snack and found a seat within the little airport cafe.

The next hour and a half flew by. It felt like a scene in a movie that is sped up with inspirational piano music playing in the background as we both laugh in slow-mo. We shared our favorite books, TV shows, bloggers. We talked about our families and friends and career hopes and dreams. We discussed our Enneagram numbers. It turns out, we were very compatible as friends. After our short time together, I felt like she was one of my best friends that I had known for years.

The time came for us to say goodbye, and it was way more sentimental than it should have been. We hugged, and promised to keep in touch.

We both barely made our connecting flights because we waited so late to say goodbye. We joked and said that this airport friendship was like a rom com, only for best friends.

There is something so sweet about a new, unexpected friend. It’s like a thoughtful gift from fate. Like, “hey, I know you’re really stressed about life right now, but chill and talk to this lovely human.”

Part of my recent anxiety has stemmed from not knowing where I will be in the coming months. I’m such a planner, and knowing that I have no control over where I will be, and who I will be with really freaks me out. But my airport friendship was a reminder that there are people out there who I haven’t met yet, in a city I might never have visited, that could potentially change my life. That is so exciting!

If you’re anything like me, and you’re not sure what you are doing with your life, just remember that there are sweet moments waiting for you in the most unexpected places. Who knows, you could meet your new best friend on a plane ride.

 

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