Dreams are generally rooted in reality so, yes, I really did meet my dream girl. And, like most dreams, this was shattered abruptly.
It started out as one of those stoic journeys, hot and cramped in a mikrolet, one of those minibuses which can probably seat eight kindergarden children comfortably but in which 10-15 adults are crammed. The sliding windows were open to let in a bit of a breeze, but access to Jakarta's polluted air was limited by somewhat a overweight ibu who I tried not to be jolted against.
Adding to the cramped conditions was a large family with a carton containing, I surmised, their worldly possessions. The parents, facing each other in the back corners, were forced to take up much of our leg space as their box stopped their knees from touching. At one point, I spotted a little girl peaking past her dad at the rest of us.
She sat opposite me, well-dressed, possibly in her mid-twenties and maybe a student. Cramped as we were, it was not the occasion to pull into a Pertamina service station for a refill of benzine and stop at the end of a small truck and a long line of motorcycles.
It got worse when we heard the word 'habis' (finished) which we took to mean the essential supplies of petrol/gas. We weren't under shelter, petrol fumes swum up our nostrils and we got even edgier because we didn't move for almost five minutes..
I had another bus to catch and rush hour would soon be upon us so I did what I often do at times of stress - I said something. It wasn't something I'd later regret because all seemed to agree that we weren't prepared to sit and possibly throw up because the driver figured we wouldn't complain about his lack of foresight. There were other mikrolets we could catch - look there goes another one.
Smiles and nods of agreement followed from my fellow passengers - I'd said all that in Indonesian.
And she asked me, "Are you late?"
Not yet, I replied, and thus began a friendly conversation in English about the appalling service of Jakarta's so-called public transport and where are you going, and did you feel the earth move .....
I enjoy talking, and if I had more having conversations about life I'd probably blog less. But I'm writing this because her phone then rang.
I couldn't help noticing the change in her body language. She really wanted to speak to whoever was at the other end. Her English seemed to get worse as she rearranged their rendezvous, in Senayan Plaza in the café next to Pizza Hut at five. Love was in the airwaves and it was easy to feel her joy.
But I felt a little sad that the positive, friendly, vibes she'd wafted my way had so easily been dissipated.
I should be happy to know that I remain an incurable romantic, but please don't tell 'Er Indoors.