flying south

“We’re flying south now. We’re flying south.”

Their curiosity never ends, does it?

“We’re flying south,” he says for the fifth time, excited, like a little child learning something for the first time and wanting to share it with the world.

He turns his body away from the small window and towards his wife.

“I heard you, but I’m trying to read right now,” she firmly replies. She clutches the airplane magazine in her wrinkled hands.

what. a. bitch.

the woman sitting next to me raises her eyebrows. scoffs a little to make sure I saw her disdain. but not enough to translate it across the aisle towards the aging couple.

But was she? You know, being a bitch?

She’s instantly aware of her tone. You could hear it in the lingering silence after her words, see it in the tense grasp on her magazine. Her eyes linger on the page, but you could tell she was no longer interested in reading.

Because that was life for her, wasn’t it? Constantly being aware of everyone else. Knowing what people were thinking. When they were thinking. Wondering: why did they think that?

He sits back in his seat and looks out the window.

A few minutes later, he has discovered something else he feels the urgent need to wonder about, to share, to watch as his thoughts fill the silent gaps in the air.

He runs his wrinkled hands in his stark white hair and shakes it. White dandruff falls from his head and onto his pants.

“Is it from my hair? But how could it get all the way over there?” he says, touching the white lint on her black pants.

She doesn’t worry about where the lint came from. Just that it was there. She uses her palms to wipe it off from her thighs as best as she could. He continues to ruffle his hair and watch the dandruff fall.

Because that was life for him, wasn’t it? Unhindered curiosity from childhood as his mother, sister, wife collected, organized, smoothed out all the baggage and the bumps.

“Close your food tray,” she says as the pilot announces the plane’s descent.

“Wasn’t that a smooth landing?” he asks just as the plane hits the ground.
“Yes,” she replies as she reaches down to take their bags.

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