Stage One: Wide-eyed Wallflower.
He was impressive. Impressive indeed. ...He could be their future president, if they are lucky... She was at stage one of her very own brand of infatuation. “Wide eyed wallflower”. Too smitten to say anything, because the pressure to say something brilliant and funny and earth shatteringly profound and situation appropriate was too great. So great in fact that all hope for anything resembling a coherent sentence was lost. ...Nature clearly does not want me to procreate. Why else would it wire to me to default to this state any time I met someone I could potentially want to procreate with?... So she sits there, smiling widely and laughing profusely. Wondering when someone at the table will realize that she has not said anything in dozens of minutes. Analyzing the expression she is making with her own face. Her face is all she has now, because her brain and therefore mouth are paralyzed, void of words, void of thoughts, just void. Forever. Or...
Stage Two: Spear-eyed premature familiarity.
At this stage, the annoyance with Stage One gets the best of her and she focuses with all her might on getting out of it. And what’s a more suitable way to break through the awkward glass of wallflower greenhouse than by acting as if she’s known him forever and they are best buds who’ve been sharing secrets and braiding each other’s hair for dozens of months.
Stage three: Kind-eyed nurture and concern.
This is where conversation turns to family and siblings, nieces and nephews and holidays. Sometimes health issues or recent deaths in the family are also mentioned and her eyes begin to radiate care and concern.
Stage four: Shut-eyed daring leap.
Aside from the official, semi-scripted interview and a very brief post lunch chat, they had not had any conversations one on one. The prospect of it terrified her. She also couldn't help but picture a seemingly inevitable outcome. After a few feeble attempts to reach through the nervous haze that is her brain, for something intelligent to say to him, she will resign to watching him talk about a myriad of political and socioeconomic issues in various countries she will later have to look up on BBC News, blinking rarely, and maintaining a concerned and pensive look.
There she was, sitting under a canopy of exotic flowering trees, on a continent where she was not born nor lived, in a haze of slightly more wine than she intended to have, with thoughts such as "I can never complain about my life again, ever" impressing themselves onto her already overworked, over-tickled heart. She started thinking, what would she say to him if he was sitting across from her right now? Would she try to come up with the most innocent, evasive and safely convoluted way of telling him that he affected her? That she has been avoiding looking straight into his jet black thoughtful eyes, lest hers would give her away, and instead has been looking at his beautiful, sturdy proportions and wishing to find herself in his warm dark chocolate embrace? What time is it? How much time do I need to pack? Can I call the driver and... no, while sober, not going to see him seemed like the most correct decision. What’s the point? He lives an ocean, a continent and a couple of worlds away from me, and is deeply rooted and devoted to his. I firmly decided not to go see him when sober, and wine haze be damned! Or was I just avoiding becoming a wallflower again? No, I am tired, I need to pack, I shouldn't rush, I need to rest before the long trip home and plus I keep wanting to practice not going back on my original decisions, not to second-guess myself. It's 6:10, I could probably be packed, showered and ready to go by 7pm. Is that enough time?
"James, if we left in forty minutes, how much time would I have at the Guest House before we have to leave for the airport?"
"Well, we'd have to leave earlier, as the Guest House is further away from the airport than the hotel..."
"Oh, ok then"
"But you'll have about forty five minutes at the guest house, or more."
"OK I will be ready to go in 40 minutes" Oh. My. God.
And then...the leap.
"I was thinking we should have a proper goodbye, in person, instead of on the phone. Would you like to have a cup of tea? James can drop me off at the Guest House in forty minutes."