The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

In-Flight Optimism

He’s just over 21, I know this because the flight attendant checked his ID, but he still looks like a young boy with his unkempt hair and his red tennis shoes. He’s in the aisle of the center row on the International flight, then there are two empty seats, and then there’s a pretty, young, blonde South African girl with whom he has been attempting conversation since take-off. She chats back easily, and he hunts for things to say. She mentions wanting a glass of wine on the flight, so when the time comes he purchases a single-serving mini bottle of red and offers her a glass. He proposes an inaudible toast and they tap their plastic cups together. He also takes a glass of orange juice, which he’s using it as a chaser. He can barely get himself to drink the wine. He turns away to cringe after each tiny sip. Yet, it bolsters his confidence just a bit, and he moves one seat closer to her. They watch the in-flight movie together and give their reviews at the end. Later, she falls asleep and he stares at the overhead compartments, quietly proud of himself for speaking up, quietly rehearsing what to say next.

–Over the Atlantic.

airplane clouds

14 comments on “In-Flight Optimism

  1. rosesnearrunningwaters
    August 13, 2014

    So sweet 🙂

  2. Eric Tonningsen
    August 13, 2014

    Have actually been there. Been him. On an international flight. Smiling at his courage. 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 13, 2014

      I like it too! It reminded me of some occasions when I opted to be a bit bold myself. 🙂 Never in-flight, though– good for you, Eric!

  3. bethspurplenotebook
    August 13, 2014

    Oh my goodness, that is adorable!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 13, 2014

      He was really cute when the German flight attendant asked for his ID. Blushing a bit and sort of mussing his own hair. 🙂

  4. joannerambling
    August 13, 2014

    Oh yeah a glass of wine will help

  5. M-R
    August 13, 2014

    I never had a decent wine in all our flights … and it was appallingly expensive, too.
    I say goodonim. 😀

  6. ChristineR
    August 15, 2014

    This brings to mind a long conversation on an overnight train with a young man across the aisle. I was going back home, after taking my two children to visit their grandmother. I ended sitting beside him while my children slept. I often think of him and hope he fulfilled his dreams of the life he wanted.
    Thanks for prompting that memory, Paige. 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 17, 2014

      How lovely, Christine! In my travels, it has been the people I’ve met that made each location really important to me. It can be freeing to connect with someone on a train or plane, where there’s a fixed time for friendship and very little risk. 🙂 Then again, I’ve kept in touch with a lot of the people I’ve met at random in this way. I’m writing about them in a novel, actually. Wish me luck!

  7. Pecora Nera
    August 17, 2014

    Great post, I am off to read some more.. 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 17, 2014

      Thank you so much! I’ve been enjoying your work as well. I haven’t spent much time in Italy, but Italian tourists do often cut in front of me in line. I think I have a whole series about that from trips to Croatia last summer, actually. 😀

      • Pecora Nera
        August 17, 2014

        Italy is beautiful, crazy but beautiful.

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This entry was posted on August 13, 2014 by in Blogging, Happiness, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , .

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