There was a pair of red cowboy boots that I saw eighteen years ago in a shop window in Boston. They were the most incredible shoes I had ever seen. I stared at them for a long time but in the end I decided not to buy them because fashionably speaking, they were a bit too risky. As soon as I walked away I knew I had made a mistake but I didn’t yet have the years of life lessons I needed in order to trust my gut and turn around and go get them. I always regretted that decision and to this day, I still think about those shoes.
Flash forward fifteen years…
The summer of 2015 in Munich was particularly hot and my friends and I spent most of our free time swimming in nearby lakes and sitting under the chestnut trees of Munich’s beer gardens. On one particular sweltering Sunday we spent the afternoon floating down the Eisbach, an alpine creek that runs through Munich’s English Garden, followed by a beer in one of the park’s famous beer gardens called the Chinese Tower.
As I was sitting at a table talking with my friends, I felt the heat baking my skin and my attention began to drift away from the conversation around me and instead to the thousands of people perched under the chestnut trees – also there escaping the heat. As I was scanning the crowd, my eyes suddenly stopped on a handsome young man sitting alone drinking a beer and reading a book by Max Goldt. Curiosity crept in and I couldn’t help but to sit there and watch him. He was confident, cool, casually dressed in a white t-shirt, navy slacks and sexy leather loafers. But there was something more than just his good looks – there was something about him that was completely captivating. After some time, he looked up and caught me staring at him, but instead of looking away embarrassed – I just smiled at him- and he smiled back.
Over the course of the next hour I attempted to re-enter the conversation with my friends but it was useless because my interest was completely consumed by the handsome guy with the leather loafers and the book. I hoped he might come over and talk to me, but as Germans don’t ‘do’ small talk, he didn’t dare. As I was raised in the States, women are taught not to be the ones to approach a man, so I also didn’t dare. It was just too risky.
I eventually grew weary from the heat and decided to leave my friends and my mystery man and go home. As I got up from the table he looked up at me and we exchanged one last smile before I turned and walked away. The bike ride home took twenty minutes and for the entire trip I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Suddenly I remembered the risky red cowboy boots in Boston that I’d always regretted not buying and my daydreaming turned to panic. I suddenly felt despair that I had walked away and lost the chance to meet him. As soon as I got home I ran inside while simultaneously rummaging through my bag trying to find my phone. I found it and quickly texted my friend, Jihan, to ask if she was still at the beer garden. I sat suspended in time until she answered. When she replied, “Yes” I described the man to her and asked her to see if he was still there. The suspense morphed into an incredible relief when she replied that he was. This time I opted for the risk, so I asked her to write my name and number on a sheet of paper and go give it to him.
Then there was silence….
I feigned ease during those next thirty minutes – and then suddenly my phone beeped. It was a text from an unknown number… a text from someone who was completely witty and captivating… and my heart melted.
That was the start of the life I have dreamed of since I was a kid. We married last year and now I am pregnant with our child. He is the best dream I’ve ever dreamt and my love for him is far beyond spoken words. Only he and the Stars will truly ever know…