Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
The couple boarded the plane extremely late and toting five carry-on bags between them. The flight crew looked the other way. He opened nearly every overhead compartment in their section of the plane, pacing toward the back, sneering at the more timely passengers’ properly stowed belongings. He opened the compartments and his wife followed along checking as well and slamming them closed. Passengers already seated and belted pretended to stare straight ahead, but gave each other sideways glances.
He passed toward the front, opening the compartments again. His wife had given up and began forcing items under her seat.
A steward tried politely to hurry the man along, asking him to sit so the flight could depart. The man flushed. He handed off one of his heavier bags like a family member passing a screaming child back to its parent. The steward remained patient, but made a face to his colleague and to the passengers at large.
During the flight, the couple argued a bit, sighed often, stood in the aisles blocking traffic, snatched the last glasses of juice off the flight crew’s service trays. When he knocked a cup of water onto his laptop and they both jumped up to dry it off, a woman to their left laughed out loud and elbowed her seatmate, demanding commiseration.
Later, during turbulence, the couple grew very anxious and sullen. She burrowed under a blanket and he held onto her, brushing her hair with his ring-fingered hand as she whimpered. And the laughing woman made a show of not being afraid, sitting up in her seat, but she also made a show of her guilt. She wrinkled her forehead, showing penitence for her prior delight in karmic justice. Blinking over at the couple, she tried tossing glances of compassion. They were all children, anyway, all afraid they might not exist.
-Flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Denver, Colorado.
(Also written under the notes for this story was the following comment: First stop–Taco Bell! There’s no place like home.)