The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Swiss Miss

The Zürich airport thinks it is better than you.  It refuses to be a mere place for waiting to depart, refuses to be a bus stop–it hosts a Hermes boutique.  Other shops sell curiously posh accessories the price of cars. Their French isn’t quite French, their German isn’t quite German. And their currency is the Franc.

In the midst of the glamour, a woman seated in a waiting area became fixated by a piece of lint floating above an air duct. It lifted slowly, then it lowered toward the ground, then it rose again. She’d been following the grey bundle with her eyes for almost five minutes, her delight growing with the duration of her gaze. She stared with wonder over lint like the models peering over jewelry in nearby window-sized advertisements.

A man approached her. He broke her reverie and she gave a blink of disappointment. Then drawing her eyebrows, she seemed to chastise herself. She had been waiting on him, after all. So she tried again, looking up to welcome him, closing her lips over her smile in order to beam. She moved to stand as he sat.  They kissed like junior high school kids at play practice. He sat close and she settled her things, moving away a bit, before realizing she moved too far away and compensating by sliding in too close. He shifted away by instinct, then shifted back.

He tried putting his arm around her shoulders, but it rested on her like a python. They couldn’t quite get comfortable. He touched her arm and she shuddered, then let out a laugh. Covering her mouth, she hunched down in her cardigan. They tried on various postures of affection and none really fit. Finally, they settled on trading sheepish smiles with their own hands in their own laps, and leaning, at least, in the direction of the other.  Nothing extravagant, but simple was best.

-Zürich airport, Switzerland.

My boots and travel necessities: the notebooks, the books, the pens. :)

My boots and travel necessities: the notebooks, the books, the pens. 🙂


5 comments on “Swiss Miss

  1. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    December 1, 2011

    I’m always switching tenses. Perhaps it’s my nerves. 🙂 But finally I decided the airport still exists and still has a superiority complex, but these two have gone about their way. Someday I’ll be employing you as an editor, my dear Grandpa.

  2. Wendy Weinhold
    December 11, 2011


  3. M. R.
    March 17, 2014

    Makes me sigh at the waste of time, Paige … so often could people be doing far more useful things with their lives than playing at being a couple.
    But it’s your usual clear word picture; and I’ve even been in the Zurich airport ! Well, Stringer and I raced through it at high speed at had to take TWO mini-trains to reach our flight to Vienna, as we linked from Geneva to Zurich. Wouldn’t want to make a habit of being there but …

    • 🙂 Maybe it was a first date! I had a friend say, “I hope you never see me in an airport!” I suppose my word pictures aren’t always snapshots that people wish to see.


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This entry was posted on November 25, 2011 by in Europe, Travel and tagged , , , .

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