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My homebound journey following my tour of Europe was interrupted when my plane halted in Paris for a couple hours, leaving me with just one hour in Frankfurt to make my connecting flight. As I had feared, I would not make it.

If you’ve traveled through Frankfurt before, you know that it’s practically impossible to make an international connection in two hours or less. The size of the airport alone is a disaster! Domestic flights leave from a separate terminal, so if you don’t plan and budget enough time, it can take 45 minutes or more just to switch terminals.

When we got to Frankfurt, my plane had already taken off. I still clung to the hope that they might have a red eye leaving from there that night. But when I asked the airline agent, his expression made it clear - there were no flights and that was final. Instead, I was told to collect my belongings at baggage claim and board a shuttle that was taking all of us with lost connections out to the Black Forest.

Disheartened, I boarded the shuttle bus, my head hanging low. This wasn't part of my plan; I was supposed to be ready to go home and attend to work and family responsibilities. It seemed that the airport had a protocol in place to deal with issues like this - quite clever if I may say so - and it appears that it happened often.

Sometimes it's important to surrender and go with the flow.

We stumbled upon this charming little inn deep in the heart of the black forest, far removed from any civilization or town.

After checking in, a staff member escorted me to the dining hall. I could smell dinner before I even entered - it was an aroma of delicious meals being served for all passengers who had missed their flights. 

A smile spreads across my face as I recall the events from that day. We had all been strangers before we found ourselves in the middle of the ancient black forest with no idea what to expect.

The crowd that had gathered was an eclectic mixture; a family with little kids, some romantic twosomes, some suited-up businessmen and me, the only woman traveling solo. 

At dinner, we gave each other subtle smiles and nods. Afterwards, I had the option to retreat to my room or do something different—go to the bar for a drink. After all, it was my last night; why not have an unexpected adventure?

When I stepped inside, there were two Scots sitting at the counter. The scene fit perfectly in my imagination of how two Scottish men would behave - they had big pints of beer set before them and laughed heartily with each other. So, naturally, I made my way over to join them.

The group welcomed me with open arms and immediately ordered me a glass of wine, though in Germany it seemed more like a jug! I didn't even bat an eye at the size, as I was so caught up in our conversation. We talked about their families and lives.

They were on their way to Norway. Two people told me fascinating stories about the months they spent working on an oil rig away from their families. They seemed cheerful and carefree. Their positive energy was infectious, and I kept some of it with me when I returned home. It’s a great reminder for me when things get chaotic and stressful.

We put money in the jukebox to play our favorite songs and shared stories with two people who were from completely different backgrounds. We had a wonderful time chatting and laughing together. After some time, another man came in and joined us at the bar counter.

He was originally from Bosnia, a teacher, but now resides in San Diego in the United States. It turns out we had been on the same flight before.

Though I didn't recognize him, he apparently still remembered seeing me at the gate; his gesture of ordering me a glass of wine only reinforced this. I was savoring the entire evening, as the only female in the group, being showered with plenty of attention.

Having just gotten out of a lengthy and tiring marriage, I was eager to experience freedom again!

As we conversed late into the night, I decided to take a bathroom break and subsequently encountered the Bosnian waiting outside. Before I could comprehend what was happening, he leaned in and planted a kiss on me. Inebriated as I was, I didn’t seem to mind.

Everything moved so quickly after that. It felt like one moment we were standing outside the restroom, kissing; and then suddenly, I was in his hotel room, tumbling around in the sheets. Despite feeling a little dirty for taking such a risk, I also felt incredibly alive for having such an experience with a stranger. We used protection, said our goodbyes, and never planned to see each other again.

I felt strong, as if I had the same power my ex-husband once possessed. Was that what he felt like when he was in charge?

He would sleep with random people on his business trips and then come home to me and the kids acting like nothing happened. He'd make me feel like I was the only one he cared about, calling me his Earth angel...How could he lie like that?

The next day I woke up feeling so sick. The hangover was so bad I felt like I was crawling out of my bedroom just to get some coffee. I couldn't even manage breakfast, afraid anything I ate wouldn't stay down. I made it to the shuttle bus at the airport just in time for my return flight.

As I prepared to leave, I felt an uncomfortableness that made me hope I would not see the Bosnian on my way out. My heart was heavy with shame and guilt.

I had let myself slip to a place I usually wouldn't allow myself to be, all because of alcohol—something I had always promised myself not to use as an explanation.

I'll take ownership and own up to it: I was deeply hurt by my divorce and some of the things I did were incredibly thoughtless and desperate. The longing for attention was a major factor, as I neglected myself in favor of being wanted. Allowing people who weren't meant to be there into my life just so I could feel accepted.

A man crossed paths with a woman in the black forest, taking a risk and trusting her. She reciprocated his boldness without hesitation; no one could blame either of them for what happened next. It was just an innocent rendezvous.


I’m a woman in my 50’s living in Southern California. I own a Pilates studio and do Integrative nutritional health coaching. I’m a mother of 4 young adults. I went through a rough divorce some years back and went back out into the dating world which was a disaster and wrote a few short stories about them.


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