“To the girl with the tennis racket on the subway this weekend. You touched my hand when you saw I was reading Franny and Zooey, and told me it was your favourite book. Please contact me!”
Notices like this proliferate the web. You have an unexpected encounter with someone, circumstances prohibit any chance to exchange deets, and you’re left forever dreaming about what might have been. So you send a message in a bottle, busting with high hopes.
I dare say there’s something quite romantic about the notion of reconnecting with what is referred to as a “missed connection”. It’s easy to fantasize about what might have been, or what might still be, if only we could reconnect with the stranger who made all of our dreams come true… briefly, and in passing.
I once had my own missed connection. A few years ago I was at an event, met a girl with whom I made sparks fly, and we fooled around as best we could despite the fact that we were in public. I gave her my phone number. It took her a couple of weeks to call back, and when she did, I was in the midst of a deathbed family emergency. Not only could I not take the call, I accidentally deleted her message—and phone number. I think about it to this day.
But here’s what I don’t do: I don’t see the opportunity as “missed”. I made lemonade of the situation. Sure, I understand that I’ll likely never see her again, but I LOVE the fact that she’s become the fantasy that won’t go away, that will never be spoiled by the possibility that it wouldn’t have worked out. I keep the memory perfect, as it was, as I’ll continue to imagine it might have been.
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The “perfection” of the chance encounter, itself, is a fantasy. It’s the moment that enraptures us, not the person. If we were to meet our “missed connection” outside those circumstances, there’s every reason to believe there won’t be a connection at all. These are fantasies come true, unexpected fantasies. There should be more than enough in that alone to fill your empty nights.
If you love the fantasy, and want to keep it alive, don’t chase it down. You may not like what you find.
Have any “missed connections” you can share?