A Story About Missed Opportunities


I saw he had a Burning Man marriage on Facebook. He had spontaneously married a girl while at Black Rock desert just months after we had danced on tables together in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I remembered when he had drunkenly yelled, ‘’I can get any girl I want!’’

I was leaving the first city, Phnom Penh, of my solo Southeast Asia trip. I got on the little bus and did a quick scan to find a seat buddy for the ride to Siem Reap. I sat next to a sweaty, blue-eyed guy, and before long, we were reminiscing on the cool, drizzly weather of the US Pacific Northwest. He shared his great taste in music with me and his future plans. He wanted to be a sex and relationship counselor. As I started dozing on his shoulder, I thought, “What luck! How did you manage to sit next to a sensitive and attractive Pacific Northwesterner?”

When we disembarked, I had in my hand his name, a list of bands, and spot to meet that night. I rode off in my tuk-tuk to my hostel. The other girls in my room had just formed a plan to rent bikes to ride Ankor Wat the following day. There are few instances when you should say no to joining up with others in your hostel, especially when they have such a good idea of renting $1 bikes instead of $25 tuk-tuk tours. We decided to wake up early to make sunrise at the temple. “Okay,” I said, “I’m just going to meet up with this guy. I’ll be back soon!”

We got the drinks at the designated spot. His blue eyes were inviting, and I thought about the probability of seeing them again back in Seattle. We went to the famous bar and got the popular ‘buckets’ of mixed drinks. We drank and danced and I flirted with another guy I had met to see if he would come retrieve me. He did, and we danced some more until finally he asked, “So are you coming with me to my hostel now?”

I had to think about it. I was losing my rationality that this would be a one night thing, and no, I would not be seeing him back in the United States where we could date while he was practicing sex therapy. I sighed.

“No,” I said grudgingly. “I’m sorry, but I promised my roommates I would go with them tomorrow.”

He smirked and walked out to the street. He turned and said, “You know, I can get any girl I want!” and wandered off to bargain with the tuk-tuk drivers for a ride home.

I got home at 3 a.m. and crawled into my bed. The alarm went off at four.

I made it to watch the sunrise at the Ankor temple. My blue-eyed, sensitive, arrogant seat buddy missed it by oversleeping his alarm.