The Air Woman: a Short Story

Luft Frau

(air woman)


Let me tell you a story like we don’t hear often anymore. See, for some time, I’ve been thinking about the difference between relationships in the 80’s and now. Back in those days, technology was just starting to be part of the everyday lives of people, and it wasn’t yet the overwhelming presence it is now. People still met in real life, in bars, in supermarkets, in libraries. Hearing the story of two people falling for each other on the day they met wasn’t so crazy…just a little surprising maybe.

But nowadays, with the way our lives have evolved, when two people meet, there are all these expectations of games and performance. You have to talk for a while before linking each other, you have to act distant, hard to get, in order to keep the other (which makes no sense). You can’t say I love you, for these are scary words. And when people are dating, they have to wait a certain amount of time before moving in together, getting married, and having kids, for these are things that take time…


But that’s so stupid! Because while you wait around, life goes by. And if you’re waiting months and years before having a relationship with someone, you are wasting time you could spend with them! At the young age of 21, I already had 2 near death experiences…and I don’t know anyone who didn’t almost die at some point in their life. We forget that life is very fragile, we take it for granted. We make something complicated out of something that should be very simple!


But now onto the story! A story where the old ways meet the new ways, where technology helps two people meet “like people used to meet before”.


It started on a Saturday morning. As I opened my computer, staring at the list of assignments I had to do before the end of the weekend, I felt the oh-too-familiar overpowering urge to procrastinate take over me. Instead of opening a Word document and starting on my assignments, I turned to my phone instead, and opened up Bumble. I had recently downloaded the app for some of my friends told me it was better than Tinder, and I was sick of swiping left and judging the same people on Tinder. I spent a few minutes swiping left on all the profiles I saw, but then, as I was mechanically swiping left after viewing a profile for two seconds or less, I stopped in my track. There was something about the girl on the picture that got to me, I think it was her eyes. So, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I swiped right (How romantic!). As I was getting over the shock of seeing the “it’s a match” message, I wrote her the most basic message I had ever written: “Hello, how are you?”.

She answered with “Hi, I’m good! What are you doing today?”

And just like that, we decided to see each other a little later that day. What? Huh? I was both confused and excited about this date. How did this happen so fast? But thirty minutes later I was leaving my apartment, on my way to meet a complete stranger. The regular thoughts of catfish and serial killer did enter my mind for a second, but I just shrugged and stopped thinking about it.

As I arrived in front of her hotel, I didn’t feel nervous. With this girl, there were no expectations, for she was in town for only a day. We didn't have to like each other, we could have just met and decided to be friends, or not to see each other again. There was no pressure to make this first date the best, for I think we both thought it would be our only. Because the girl I was meeting up with is a flight attendant from Germany, in Montréal for the first time (and for only a day), and who happen to be adorably cute and into girls.

This is why this story is crazy. I was not supposed to do anything but homework that day, and she was in Montreal for a few hours only. And we met, and something was wonderfully different about her, about us.

I knew there was something different about this girl the moment I met her. It sort of felt like two old friends meeting each other after many years. We weren’t strangers, on some level we already knew each other. We went to grab a cup of coffee to go, and then walked around McGill campus. We toured the museum for a while, talking about animals and memes, and admiring the dinosaur's bones displayed. When we left the museum, it was warmer outside, and the sun was piercing through the clouds, so we kept walking around. As we kept climbing McTavish street, she asked me what was the old building at the top of the hill. I had no idea, so I looked it up on my phone. It was the psychiatric ward of the Victoria Hospital. As I said those words out loud, we looked at each other like two kids who just discovered a new world. We jaywalked across the street and started exploring. The old stone wall surrounding the facility was falling apart, giving the place a gloomy, abandoned look. We concluded that this was probably the residency of a group of witches. We walked in the front door, but the second set of doors were locked. We walked around the building, embellishing our story every time we would find something creepy of funny to add. Around the back of the building ran a fence, and one part of it was missing. It led to the woods, and of course, we had to go explore it. We half walked, half slipped on the snow to reach the top of a snow-covered staircase. We found Simon McTavish’s thumb stone, like that’s not weird to find in the middle of the woods.


This moment in the forest, trying not to slip on the wet snow, holding hands so not to trip, her warm hand pressed against mine, which was freezing cold, this moment felt borrowed. It felt like we had taken a piece of time and space, and we had claimed it as our own, in that little bit of wood, with the sun coming in through the leafless branches of the trees, this moment, in that place, it belonged to us.


We kept on exploring, telling zombie stories and creating scenarios of apocalypse and horror movies as we walked. Like two kids in an enchanted world, we found an open staircase behind one of the hospital building, which looked like it lead to the sky, with a wall of water protecting it. We crossed the dripping water coming from the snow melting on the roof, climbed the stairs, and I took her hand because she was scared of heights. On the roof, we had a great view of the city, and again it felt as if we were alone on that piece of world.


As I walked her back to her hotel, this overwhelming feeling crept over me, this feeling of not wanting to say goodbye. It felt like we had experienced three weeks in one day, I felt closer to her than I feel with some of my friends. We sat in the sun, talking for what felt like hours, joking as we were people watching. As the minutes kept ticking by, we didn’t want to end this date. We went up to her hotel room so she could pack up her things, and we watched this bit of an awful gangster movie, but we muted the sound so we could make up our own dialogues.

And then, as I was about to leave, I kissed her, and my stomach did that same thing it does when the plane lifts off.

So, in the span of 4 hours, I met and fell for this beautiful German girl, who speaks 4 languages, who travels the world for a living, and whose name is Alice.


To end on a cheesy note: On that Saturday in early April, this girl name Alice flew down into my life, and we found a whole different world hidden in the heart of Montreal, our own wonderland. And then she flew away again. But now that our paths have crossed, the story continues. Who knows, maybe next time I’ll be the one flying to her.

Images obtained from: