Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A sweet, romantic story

Sorry to mislead you with that title, nothing sweet or romantic has happened to me lately. Rather I have contrived a sweet, romantic storyline (like the plot to a book or movie) inspired by something mundane that happened to me the other day at the airport. First I'll describe what happened, and then I'll go on to tell you the entirely fictional story plot. I was hesitant to post this because I am always concerned my friends and family will read too much into it and think I'm talking about myself or something, but suffice it to say that in my story, the main male character is merely based on exaggerations of me, and is in fact completely fictional.

So here's what actually transpired:
On my way back from Albany I had a layover in Chicago, and as I meandered around Midway airport from one gate to the next, my mind started to wander. I was thinking, as I sometimes do, about meeting women (and in general, why I seem to have such problems with it), and I joked to myself "what are the odds I meet my future wife in some foreign airport?" Of course I then started devising some fantastical situation that would have to occur in order to make that happen. turns out it's not that terribly far fetched - I told myself "I dunno, maybe someone completely awesome could be moving to Tucson, and they happen to be going out there on my plane..." Then I pretty much forgot about it and started thinking about game stuff from the weekend.

Then, when I got onto the plane thy were saying that it would be full, and rather than be stuck in a middle seat between 2 random large people, I noticed a seat between an average sized woman and a very skinny young girl, so I chose to sit there. Also, the girl was kind of cute, a bonus but not really relevant.

At some point the young girl and I started to talk, and managed to talk almost all the way to Tucson - she was a high school senior who would be going to the U of A next year to study biological engineering and robotics, and she was going to visit her future roommates and see where she'd be living or something. I kept thinking to myself that this girl was really smart and neat and interesting, and it was too bad she wasn't 10 years older.

It came up that she liked games, her boyfriend really loves Puerto Rico for example, and her to-be roommates were apparently gamers, so I gave her a BGDF business card I had on me and told her that if she and her friends wanted to get involved in the gaming community, I could hook them up, as that's kind of my thing.

Finally, we got to Tucson and went our separate ways. She never actually introduced herself, so I don't suspect I'll be hearing from her ever again, which is fine, but as I drove home I thought about the "too bad she's not 10 years older" comment and came up with this completely fictional story...

The story begins with an older, single man (kind of like me!), thinking about how he'd like a relationship, meeting a very young girl who embodied many of the things he'd hoped to find in a woman, but was far too young for a relationship to even be an issue. They meet on a plane, connect over stories, and the guy says to himself "too bad she's not 10 years older - she'd be perfect" or something like that. He gives her his card because they share some common interest and they part ways.

Next would be a scene where the girl is entering her house or something and the business card falls out of her pocket. The door closes and the camera (if this were a movie) pans down to show it on the ground. The next scene would be the next morning or something, the girl leaving the house, opening the door to notice the card on the ground. Picking it up she would comment - something like "oh, I must have dropped this" or, looking at the card thoughtfully, something like "that guy was interesting - maybe I'll call him after all." and then going on with her day.

Moving on to a scene where that or another night the guy is checking messages and gets one from the girl saying that she and her roommates are interested in doing whatever it was that common interest was (so if it were me, we're talking about taking them to a game night). So they do that, have a good time, etc. and after the girl and her friends leave, a friend of the guy asks where he found her, he answers about the plane, and the friend says something to the affect of "too bad she's too young for you, you guys really hit it off!"

Then the story jumps forward, flipping back and forth between the lives of these 2 people. She comes back for school in some crazy advanced quantum physics (she's super smart, which is one of her endearing qualities to the guy), the two of them become friends (not at all romantically, just friends), and each of them have their personal problems. He can't find what he's looking for in a relationship and becomes more and more depressed about it as he gets older, she has her own troubles, basically in relationships with guys that don't treat her well. At some point (consoling her from a break up perhaps) he tells her ow great he thinks she is, and how he's always thought they'd make a great couple if they were more age appropriate. Both are generally unhappy with the romantic aspect of their lives. The two become very good friends, and as the years go by and the guy gets more depressed about his romantic situation, the girl feels bad for him and finds herself wishing they were from the same generation as well.

I mentioned that the girl's studies were along the lines of crazy advanced quantum physics... as her PHD project she thought she'd found a way to approximate time travel. I think of it like the kinds of things you see in movies like Deja Vu, or Timeline - the ability to end an item through time, but very sketchy reliability, and not nearly safe enough for a human trial. About a decade after the two characters meet, the girl is finishing up a prototype of this device, and by then she's a bit sick of her own relationship problems, and is bothered by the depression of her friend (maybe he was so depressed that he committed suicide? Or something else terrible happened?) so she decides to do something somewhat drastic. So that nobody questions what's happened, she creates a situation to make it look like she's been in an accident, so people will think she's dead (like burning down her house or something), and like in Deja Vu, when Denzel Washington ill advisedly gets into that contraption to try and go back to save that girl - our heroine uses her prototype time machine to send herself back in time to the day the two characters met. This should come across in the story like a pretty big deal, there's no going back for her, and there's no guarantee that things won't go terribly wrong, either with her plan (see below) or in fact with the whole of space time (Great Scott!)

Back at the beginning of the story, the woman sits in a car at the airport parking lot and watches the younger versions of herself and her friend come out. Following her younger self, she sees the prior scenes repeat, up to the point where the camera panned down to the business card on the ground. Once the young girl was safely inside the house, the woman sneaks up and takes the card.

The next morning, the scene repeats from earlier in the movie, except this time when the door opens there's no business card on the ground to remind the girl of the guy she'd just met. without noticing, she goes on with her life, never calling the guy, and while she  may remember meeting him, she never gives him a second thought.

However the woman, knowing the guy would like her (and knowing that she in fact likes the guy), takes the card and manufactures a meeting such that they become friends. Sure enough, before long the guy realizes how great he thinks the woman is, counts his lucky stars that he's finally found the type of person he's been looking for, and they live happily ever after :)

Every time travel movie has its paradoxes, so in this one the fact that the 2nd iteration of the girl never goes back in time - well, we'll just gloss over that. Instead that woman just sort of appears out of nowhere, and there are technically 2 of her running around - but since the young girl never met the guy other than on that plane, it never comes up. Maybe it can be explained away with fake science, like the timeline the woman came from never happened, but since she did exist and has moved into this time, she still exists, independent of the events that brought her into existence (and the fact that they no longer exist). it's all very high level physics, and you're not supposed to understand it ;)

The point is that it's one of those impossible fantasy love stories about 2 soul mates who were born out of phase with each other. Like The Lake House perhaps, though I never saw that movie, so maybe I've got it wrong. The thing I think is interesting about my story is that while normally these movies are about a boy 'saving' a girl, this one is the other way around... the girl is the one who does the saving.

So that's the story. Not terribly deep perhaps, but I think it's sweet. Maybe someday I'll work on it some more and see if i can't turn it into a real piece of fiction writing or something.


Seth Jaffee said...

I think it would be pretty cool if it appeared to the reader as if the woman's goal when going back in time and taking the business card was to keep herself from ever meeting the guy, as if keeping them apart would somehow fix things, so she sacrificed her current self to make some kind of better life for her younger self, and then the twist at the end is that she really loved the guy and really went back so that they could be together, and keeping her younger self away was just to facilitate that.

Renee said...

Not sweet, and not romantic, but it happened at an airport!

Renee said...

Also, I don't know of you remember my friend, Heather, who was married to a professional poker player. If I'm remembering correctly, they met in the first class lounge before a flight to Asia. Thailand or Hong Kong or something. They talked the whole flight, hung out when they were abroad, then dated long distance for a while when they got back. Eventually they got married. Lived in LA for a while, then moved to Seattle.

It was a lovely, romantic story up until their divorce...