The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.


Flipping through a fashion magazine, the woman gazes past the words and tries to entertain herself with the pictures. On an interesting photograph of shoes, she reaches for her husband’s attention. He tugs his belt around his belly and sniffs to move his bifocals up the bridge of his nose. He shuffles their boarding passes in his shirtfront pocket and props himself up against the rail before the airplane shuttle begins to move. She shows him the pictured boots with a comment and he barely blinks in his disinterest, but clasps her sensible travel jacket to keep her upright as the bus lurches around a corner.

Back to the magazine, she turns away from the page, away from him as well, using the weaving of the shuttle as an excuse. As they near the plane, he touches her on the head and leans in, breathing quietly as though doing nothing at all, as he smells her hair in this crowd of strangers. Halting by the slow roaring engine, husband and wife stand so their forearms touch before they slowly exit. The day has come where she doesn’t want him to take her arm, because his being a gentleman may make her look old. So he respects her wishes, but in his periphery he watches her long, uncertain step to the tarmac.

They have already committed their seat assignments to memory, so as they enter, and through the whole flight, he leaves their boarding passes in his pocket, her ticket resting against his. And upon landing he reaches over and take her hand, only for a moment, just before touching down.

-Vienna Airport, Austria.

old photos, grandparents

Grandpa, Grandma, and a screaming little me.

7 comments on “Old-Fashioned

  1. Natalie
    November 12, 2011

    I love it because I feel like I can see them when you write. Please keep writing! 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on The Nice Thing About Strangers and commented:

    I’ve been really missing my Grandparents lately. All four are gone now, but so often I wonder if they would like my stories, if they would be pleased with my choices, and if they’d nod politely at my trip photos. I hope so.

  3. bearspawprint
    June 21, 2013

    I suspect they would love your stories. With small glimpses you reveal so much that is hidden. Do you think perhaps they whisper insight to your secret hearing? is your Grandma wearing a Pendleton skirt?

    • Thank you so much! I hope they would enjoy the stories–perhaps they are directing the spotlight toward these strangers.
      The Pendleton skirt is likely! Though my Grandparents lived in Oregon, they were so often smiling over me in childhood photos. It’s been fun to see that as I go through our photos. I hope they are keeping it up! I need it!
      Thank you,

  4. piratehunter1977
    June 21, 2013

    Awesome. As always.

  5. joannerambling
    June 21, 2013

    This post made me think of my nan and pop it sounded just like them………………

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This entry was posted on November 11, 2011 by in Observed, Travel and tagged , , , .

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