Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
The man sits quietly by the window through the flight. As we grow close to landing, my 9-year old niece strikes up a conversation with her neighbor. This is a sure sign that she and I are related. The man is from Louisiana and his name is Paul. My niece likes his accent. He is catching a flight to Montana for work and he asks her about going into the 5th grade. They both own dachshunds that they love, so they compare dog-family photos.
Strong winds that are preventing flights from landing, so we circle the airport for another half hour. Then yet another. The Captain mentions that we may have to land in Colorado Springs or Cheyenne. My niece looks up at Paul with worry. He also grows worried. There’s a chance to land, and what feels like only a few hundred feet from the ground, we head upward again. My niece shakes her head.
We did finally land in Denver as expected, and we let Paul go on ahead so he can hustle for his plane. Since he bid us goodbye–four weeks ago–my niece has mentioned this kind stranger in her nightly prayers. She prays for Paul, that he made his plane, that he made it home again, and that he is happy.