The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Little Miss Dutiful

The middle child adores her baby brother. She kisses him and holds his tiny hand while waiting to board. She’s a proud Kindergartener, offering to carry packages down the jetway with her family. Her older sister trudges along empty-handed, and the middle girl tracks her mother and little brother as closely as possible. Mom has darkly penciled-in eyebrows and a tired glance, brooding over her brood. Dad is young and happy, shepherding the group along. Mom holds the baby at her side in such a way that his legs dangle down, bumping seats and kicking the shoulders of already seated passengers.

Once at cruising altitude, the dutiful middle girl runs her mother’s errands–taking a dirty diaper back to the trash, fetching a glass of water for her little brother’s bottle. She waves to the flight attendant like an adult, then walks in a bounce of awkwardness, bangles on her wrists, hair in her face. She meets my eyes as she stands a few rows ahead of me, waiting for a man who is blocking the aisle to finish wrestling with items in the overhead bin. We blink at each other and grin in a silent friendship. Then she sighs like a career woman, which catches the man’s attention, and he steps aside so she can carry on with her family business.

–Somewhere between Vienna and Istanbul

A family of bicycles in Amsterdam

A family of bicycles in Amsterdam

2 comments on “Little Miss Dutiful

  1. Gallivanta
    October 3, 2015

    How cute, and true!

  2. davecenker
    October 4, 2015

    This reminds me how often we adults mold the behavior and attitudes of the next generation, with both the positive (and not so positive) things that we do. I have not had the privilege of being a middle child. But, I can only imagine the shuffling between seeking attention and being the helpful little sibling that she has obviously become 😉 Very cute story filled with many underlying messages, I believe. Thanks for sharing Paige 🙂

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2015 by in Blogging, Happiness, Travel and tagged , , , .

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