The Nice Thing About Strangers

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


The little boy entertains himself with a paper airplane. People with boarding passes wait on a flight that’s full-sized, but sit with quiet smiles and watch the boy’s take-offs in their periphery. His paper plane falls at the feet of an airline employee and he waits for her to move. She’s scanning the gate area, looking for something, looking for someone.

The boy stretches out on the floor, reaching so his hand will be at the ready. If he goes for his plane and she moves, she might spot him or he might touch her ankle. He wishes to to go unnoticed. Any of the passengers can tell that it’s become quite important to him to seem invisible–his shoulders shift as he sinks into his covert mission. From his place on the floor, he can’t take in the towering woman, just the height of her heel, the distance between his fingers and the wing of his lost jet. Eventually, she shifts so he can reach without giving up his position. She smiles over him, not really looking, playing the game as a mutual agreement. She moves and he is silently vindicated as he crosses the border, recovers his aircraft, and rolls away.

Yet, his mother calls out at the last moment, startling him away from certain victory. Probably protesting his position on the ground, she lifts him to his feet, dusts off his clothes, and moves him into her holding pattern.

–Budapest airport, Hungary.

Fairbanks, Alaska.

Fairbanks, Alaska.

6 comments on “Stealth

  1. rosesnearrunningwaters
    March 10, 2015

    Haha I can just picture the whole incident πŸ™‚ Lovely story

    • Thank you! I have been missing my little brother lately, so this reminded me of our childhood. Not that we could have played on the floor in a public place… πŸ™‚

  2. joannerambling
    March 10, 2015

    Oh what a lovely story

  3. davecenker
    March 11, 2015

    Sometimes I feel like that young boy, and I am a grown adult πŸ˜‰ If we all could learn to use our imagination a bit more and exercise our stealthy side, there would probably be a lot less planes stuck in a holding pattern.

    You have a way with words that is captivating, enticing, and evocative. Thank you for sharing – I will live vicariously through your experiences until further notice πŸ™‚

  4. Carlos Vaughn
    July 21, 2022

    Thanks for a greeat read

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2015 by in Travel.

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