At that moment, my heart started beating ten times faster. I had never met anyone famous before my whole life, nonetheless someone that I actually was a huge fan of. Tyler leaned back in his seat and looked over at me, crossing his arms in front of his chest. An amused expression was on face.
What was I going to say to Tyler? I didn't want to give him the wrong impression that I was just another one of those crazy, obsessed fans of his. Because quite frankly, I wasn't anything like those girls. I took a deep breath then finally spoke.
"You're Tyler Seguin, aren't you?", I said calmly.
"Yup. I'm surprised it took you that long to recognize me, being that you're a Bruins fan, too," he replied, slightly raising an eyebrow.
"It's funnier even because you're like, my all-time favorite player on the team. I guess my brain just wasn't working properly," I admitted.
I remembered the awful break-up I had with Karl and how it had made me become distant from everything else around me. I quickly erased him from my mind. Tyler seemed rather intrigued with my response, then he chuckled.
"Or I just look way different in person than I do on TV," he remarked teasingly, scratching his beard.
I managed to laugh. My mind still wasn't able to wrap itself around the fact that I was having a conversation with THE Tyler Seguin. What should I say now? That's when I suddenly noticed that he wasn't with anyone else from his team.
"Where are the rest of the guys?", I asked him.
"They left a few days ago. I had to stay behind for my grandpa's funeral," he answered with a sad expression on his face. "What about you? Are you traveling alone to see the game?"
"Yeah, but I actually live in Minnesota. I'm just visiting Boston to see my uncle. Wow, I'm really sorry about your loss. It must be terrible losing someone that close to you," I sympathized.
"It is, especially since he's the reason I started playing hockey in the first place," Tyler said. He immediately changed the subject to a lighter topic. "So, do you want an autograph, picture...anything?"
"An autograph and picture sounds great," I said.
"That's what I thought," he said with a grin.
Tyler leaned closer to me and then I took a picture of the both of us on my phone. I uploaded it onto Instagram and Twitter and wrote,
"Waiting at the airport with my favorite Bruin, Tyler Seguin."
Now for the autograph...what did I have for him to sign? Not my sweatshirt because it was already black. An idea instantly popped into my head.
"Tyler, could you sign my phone case? It'd make a great gift for my birthday", I asked, reaching for a Sharpie in my purse.
"Gladly. Wait, your birthday is today?"
"It's on Wednesday," I replied, handing Tyler my phone and Sharpie.
"Oh I see. My birthday's in January, too. And your name is..."
"Christine," I told him. Then I added, "With a C not a K".
Tyler nodded then paused to think about what to say for a moment. He finally wrote:
"Happy birthday, Christine! It was great meeting you. Have fun at the game! -Tyler Seguin".
He handed me my phone and Sharpie back and I thanked him. I couldn't believe I now had a Bruins phone case signed by a Bruins player himself. Today was definitely the best day ever.
Eventually, a few other girls (and boys) went up to Tyler to ask for his autograph. I knew people would start to recognize him sooner or later. I called my mom to inform her about how my flight was delayed, but didn't mention Tyler. I'd wait until I got home to tell her.
It was around 8 when I got really hungry. The last time I had eaten was at my uncle's house. My stomach started growling loudly and Tyler heard. He laughed and stood up. Holy crap, he was tall.
"Come on, let's go get something to eat," he suggested, putting his phone into his pocket.
"Sounds good to me," I said, getting up also.
Tyler asked me if I liked steak, and I told him anything was fine. We walked out of the gate and for the first time in my life, I felt short. I only stood to Tyler's shoulder. He led us to a bar and grill near the end of the airport. When we stepped inside, all of the waiters and waitresses looked over at us.
"Hey, Tyler! What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be with the team?", one blonde girl asked.
"Yeah, but I had to stay behind for a couple of days. Could we have a table?"
The blonde waitress led us to a table near the back of the restaurant. She asked me who I was and I just told her that I was a friend of Tyler's. We both had steak and Tyler ordered a beer for himself. I just drank a glass of lemonade.
When we were finished, I dug out my mom's credit card she had given me to borrow, but Tyler insisted that he pay for both our meals. I kept refusing, but he wouldn't take no for an answer.
By the time we got back to the gate, it was already time to board our flight. I guess four hours go by fast when you're spending it with your favorite hockey player. Even though I had just met Tyler, it felt like I had known him for ages. I thanked him for everything and he said it was no big deal.
"It was great getting to know you. Hopefully, I'll see you again in Minnesota," he said with a sincere smile.
"Me too. Good luck at the game," I told him.
Tyler and the other first-class passengers boarded first, then eventually everyone else got on. I glanced at the back of my phone before turning it off for departure and smiled to myself.
Who knew that my wish to meet Tyler Seguin one day would actually come true? It was seriously the greatest experience of my life. Not only did I get to take a picture with him and get his autograph, but we had dinner together, too. From what I've seen, he seemed like such a nice guy. I couldn't wait to tell everyone back home all about it.