Me: Let’s play a game.
Him: I love it when you say that.
Me: It’s a psychology game I recently learned. Name your three favorite animals in order, and then three traits about each.
Him: Box turtles intrigue me because their lives and habitats are so distinctly different from other animals. They’re unique and still maintain a prehistoric air about them. Manatees interest me for the same reasons; they’re just so peaceful and seem to live with a grace that doesn’t match their physical appearance. Peregrine falcons are the epitome of predator in my eyes, but they can live in the middle of nowhere or in the bustle of NYC.
If I may, I’d like to hear your animals before you reveal the meaning of mine. See how accurate I am—about you and psychology.
Me: Taking my game and making it your own; how enticing. Mine are, respectively, the dragon for its majestic, magical, and all-powerful essence, the wolf’s sexy, fierce, and pack-loyal appeal, and finally, the hawk, for its divine, all-knowing, and free nature.
Him: I get the sense that every one of those adjectives applies to you.
Me: Your compliments are too gracious.
Him: I might see myself as a turtle and I definitely see the wolf in you. But in the end, we’re both birds.
Me: Does that mean we can fly away together? If so, I’ll race you.
Him: If we were birds, where would you want to fly to?
Me: We’d fly against the rotation of the earth, and challenge the laws of time.
Him: That might be the most attractive thing anyone’s ever said to me. I would be perfectly content to spend my life as avian time traveler. Join me?
Me: Don’t have to ask; just glance over beside you and smile back.
Him: Hillary, I am completely transfixed by you.
Me: If I ever fell behind, would you wait for me?
Him: Birds aren’t meant to wait, but some do fly in groups. As a hawk though, perhaps you’re meant to never look back. As for me, an endless journey with you is exactly the kind of trip I would enjoy most.
This was a conversation I had with a stranger many years ago. We never spoke after that.