The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Be Cool

It takes a while before he realizes he’s on the wrong side of the waiting area fence. He’s in front of it. Dozens of other people wait obediently behind the long gray railing, but he’s managed to end up in front of it. He looks around at the others–children with handmade signs, men on cell phones, the old man with the giant coffee. It’s clear. He’s not where he ought to be.

He plays with his wedding ring, tries leaning back against the fence as though by limbo he could appear to be in the properly-bordered waiting area with everyone else. Then something dawns on him. He fakes a phone call, pulling it from his pocket and holding it to his ear, then moving it away, remembering to pretend to push a button to “take a call.” He can’t even bring himself to make up a plausible fake conversation, “Um,” he says instead of hello. He walks away as though hailed elsewhere, not just socially shamed into relocating. He makes a lap around security holding the phone, forgetting to pretend to talk.  He re-joins the others on the correct side of the fence, perhaps hoping that people will have greeted their loved ones before his humbled return. He hangs back, hangs up his faux phone call, and folds his arms like everyone else.

-Denver International Airport

Cleverly-titled pizza place. Pratt, Kansas. USA.

Cleverly-titled pizza place. Pratt, Kansas. USA.

2 comments on “Be Cool

  1. joannerambling
    August 9, 2013

    This cracked me up mostly because it sounds like a man think to do…………..

  2. suej
    August 9, 2013

    Yes, a man thing, I think…

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