Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
The plane is nearly full when the family boards. Bringing up the end of the line, the father wears an Armani Exchange t-shirt that reads not only the brand name, but also a bright red scrawl over the chest: FREE SPIRIT. For me, it appears a slogan not to suit his situation. He follows a grandmother figure, his wife, and two small sons down the narrow aisle while trying not to hit fellow passengers with an oversized a plastic two-story carpark. The boys clutch toy cars in their fists as they are directed to their seats. The father struggles to find space in the overhead bin for various pieces of luggage and bagged purchases. The boys protest when he aims to stow their huge, excellent carpark toy. He struggles around the small space of their five seats, fetching blankets, discarding trash, snagging a quick cup of water for grandma before take-off. He reaches across the aisle to put his son’s tray table up, “up,” he reminds him. “Up.” And encourages the whole brood to put the seat belts on, “on, on!” He sighs when the airplane finally gets off the ground. He shares a long look with his wife over one child’s head. He gives her a smile and a blink. He watches his oldest son slip into sleep.
The t-shirt is the story, as one might expect, but not as I had expected. I sit with some shame at my own gleeful wait for irony. A free spirit makes any number of free choices. He seems rather satisfied with his.
–Flight from Istanbul to Dalaman, Turkey.