The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

A Free Spirit

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.

Büyükada, Turkey.

Büyükada, Turkey.

5 comments on “A Free Spirit

  1. joannerambling
    April 27, 2015

    Is life and family may be full but his spirit is free

  2. Robert M. Weiss
    April 28, 2015

    It may be a long trip for him to get there, and an even longer one when he arrives!

  3. sedge808
    May 4, 2015

    i love this one.

  4. M E Cheshier
    July 4, 2015

    Reblogged this on Travels with Mary and commented:
    What a fabulous pic!

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