Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
The mother, her four teenage daughters, and her preschool son have seated themselves completely at random near the back of the plane. A couple, whose seats the teens have occupied, come to claim their spots. This sets off a whole shuffle of family and belongings until people settle. However, now the mother is in my seat. I try to explain that I can sit wherever she’s supposed to be, but the mother moves to the next row, leaving her son in the middle seat next to me, wide-eyed, with a trembling lip. Anticipating some tears, I tell the flight attendant the mother can stay there, by her son. Yet, people keep boarding. Polite and impolite, patient and impatient passengers seek the spots on their boarding passes as the family roams from seat to seat.
Tyler, a twenty-year old future pilot, offers a solution. He takes the middle spot next to me, leaving a row open for the mother and her son, the giggling teens can rest behind them. The flight attendant smiles over Tyler in gratitude, “Oh, you will be spoiled on this flight.” She brings him coffee with a smile. He doesn’t like coffee. He tries to drink it anyway, just to be nice, as he flinches. I quiz him on aviation, then the guy by the window quizzes him. Tyler gets both armrests and our respect.
As we land, the little boy from the lost family begins to sing Old MacDonald, not knowing all the words, singing in a mumble like someone who isn’t sure of the words to an 80s pop song. Yet the boy is clear on the “E-I-E-I-O!,” and neighbors follow Tyler’s lead to smile and enjoy the flight.–Denver to Dallas.