I had read all of their bios, seen all of their photos, and he didn't stand out. But there he was across the room, leaning on the counter, one foot in front of the other, head down, smiling. I want to meet him, I said to myself.
We talked of things I can't remember, and yet it was enough to keep my interest. So much so that after a couple of days of chatting (read: innocent flirting) in between meetings, I arranged it so we sat next to each other at the closing dinner. This time, we talked and talked about everything: his requisite rebellious phase as the son of a career diplomat, my multicultural upbringing, Paris, my grad school aspirations, his crisis of confidence at work. He ordered one last glass of white as they were kicking us out of the restaurant, and I turned to see he had had mine refilled. It's Hungarian custom never to leave a place without finishing your glass, he said, eyes twinkling.
The group of us spilled out into the street. I was charged with choosing the next venue, but how to please 10 wildly different, European personalities? At the helm, he accompanied me, darting into one place and then another, finally deciding on a lively if slightly unhip piano bar. Don't want to disturb the couple, the loud one said.
The next day was their last in Washington before embarking on their whirlwind trips through the States. Kisses on the cheek. Until New York, two weeks from now, we said.