The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Hand-Holding, Skeletons, and Snacks

Whenever I remember that I have a skeleton, I get a wave of anxious queasiness. In science classrooms, I would cringe at the bleached construction of what allegedly resides under my skin. It is a place my mind does not want to tread. And the couple to my right on the 2 am flight to Istanbul won’t stop reminding me that we are all merely bones perched upright.

He’s pale like an unbaked sugar cookie with popsicle stick joints. He gazes sweetly at the girl in the middle seat, his girlfriend, it appears. She has a huge jaw–so prominent that it becomes even more shocking to find she also has no chin. He takes off his hoodie and loses a quarter of his width. She has bulging eyes, he sunken cheekbones and chest. They laugh very quietly, almost soundlessly, and trace the top of their partner’s hand. They are the only two who bought meals on the flight. They also carried on popcorn, chips, trail mix, chocolate. They read hip German art magazines.

His feet take up the whole length under the seat in front of him. He could tap on the heels of the person up in 12F. If his forearms were used to measure cubits, Noah’s ark have been passable, but this boy’s would have been Texas-sized.

The girl falls asleep on his shoulder, her forehead resting on the jut of his bones. He leans his head back and closes his eyes. As he drifts off, his jaw falls open. The stewardess–rushing by on a pass through the cabin–halts. Tugging at her airline scarf, she hovers over him for a moment. She blinks in her wait to see if his very detailed ribcage will rise and fall. He coughs in his sleep. Raising her eyebrows, exhaling a tiny breath, the stewardess walks on. The ducklings stay curled up together in their wait for arrival.

-Airborne between Berlin and Istanbul.

Istanbul ferry, Asian side to European side

Istanbul. On the morning ferry to Karaköy.

2 comments on “Hand-Holding, Skeletons, and Snacks

  1. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    December 4, 2013

    Reblogged this on The Nice Thing About Strangers and commented:

    Today I had slip and very-near-fall in the snow on the sidewalk. Welcome winter–and what a relief to stay upright! It reminded me of bones, gratitude, and this couple. 🙂

  2. Brenda
    December 4, 2013

    I’m grateful to my bones, that rarely break, despite amazing bad luck. 🙂

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This entry was posted on March 2, 2012 by in Europe, Happiness, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .

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