Plane Prompt

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“I blame you for this, just so you know,” Maia told me waspishly.  Maia was the backbone of our group and she stood up for all of us, even if she did get a little cranky sometimes.  I rolled my eyes as we rushed through the airport. We were now running late for our flight. To be perfectly honest it was partly my fault. I tried to curb the impulse to snap at Maia, because it was also partly her fault, but Yolanda beat me to the punch.

“We know you’re only this cranky because it’s early but that doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk to everyone!” Yolanda snapped. She was the smartest out of us all, though it was more book smart than common sense.

I sighed. Yolanda and Maia, as close as they were, fought so often I regularly had to resist the temptation to punch them. 

“Let’s just hurry up and get to the terminal,” Lily suggested, her voice soft but audible in the chaos.  Lily was the heart of our group.

I nodded my head in agreement and we continued on our way to the terminal. I debated, as we hurried, what our seating arrangements would be. Yolanda and Maia would have to be separated, that much was obvious. I supposed that Lily and Maia could sit together but then Lana, which is what we called Yolanda, would blabber in my ear the whole time about her new computer and all of its amazing features and then, because just talking about it wouldn’t be enough, she would have to demonstrate how each of the parts of it worked. I could feel the book I had been waiting to read all week become a bit heavier in my bag, as if reminding me it was there. I sighed. Well, I guess the most important thing now was making our flight.

I could have fainted with relief as we approached our terminal to see people still boarding. I turned to make sure we all had our tickets and when I ascertained that we did, we made our way to the back of the line. The possibility of me getting to read my book, let alone get halfway through it like I had planned, was diminishing quickly. So when the flight attendant told us we had to split up, I eagerly jumped at the chance to sit away from my friends. The blonde, slightly irritated looking, flight attendant led me to the back of the plane where I could see a man already sitting. He smiled politely at me as I sat down and I returned it, adding an awkward wave. I flopped down in the chair, earning a disapproving look from the flight attendant, and pulled out my book. The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. The person next to you turns and quietly whispers in your ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”  I looked over at him and waved my hand as a sign for him to continue, but he just stared at me. And after some time I went back to my book.

After a while the flight attendants came around to ask us what we wanted to drink. I answered Coke- ‘cause seriously who could turn down such a delightful sugary drink? - and quickly returned to my book. I felt eyes on the side of my head so I lowered my book enough so that it still looked like I was reading and glanced quickly at the man sitting next to me. He was still staring at the side of my head, looking thoughtful. I held in a “meep” and buried my nose in my book once again, but now I couldn’t focus, knowing that the creeper sitting next to me was staring unashamedly.

After a few more minutes I looked up again and he was still staring! This was getting ridiculous! I blew out a frustrated sigh and put my book down and looked over at him.

“Can I help you?” I asked, trying to sound annoyed but just sounding meek, like always.

He shakes his head, as if in a daze, and raises a hand as if reaching out to me. I scooted as far as my chair could allow. He dropped his hand, obviously picking up how freaked out I was by the look on my face.

“Your aura… it’s so bright!” he mumbled, as if to himself. I gave him a freaked out look once again.

Suddenly he switched topic. “You know, I have this dog, and I named him Signior Fez. He tells me he doesn’t like me to be so formal and he never listens when I tell him it’s just supposed to be his name.”

By this point I was sure that my neighbor was either very crazy or playing a prank on me. I sincerely hoped that it was the first one for his sake; if he was just joking I would not be able to stop myself from punching him out. I never did handle public humiliation well.

I moved my glance to where Lily, Maia, and Lana sat giving a look that I clearly said, “I’m sitting next to a nut job!” or at least I thought it was clear. Lily obviously didn’t, as she gave me a questioning look. I quickly muttered a quiet, “That’s nice” to the man sitting next to me, hoping he wouldn’t continue the conversation if I appeared unenthusiastic.

He seemed to take my answer as if I had said it excitedly, because he responded happily, “My name’s Lenny.”

“Ariel,” I responded quietly. Yeah, I was named after the Little Mermaid, ya wanna make something of it?!

And the conversation with the crazy person continued throughout the rest of the flight. When we were finally allowed to leave I was the first off the plane. After I walked to the baggage claim it finally occurred to me to wait for Lily, Maia, and Lana. So wait I did, and they took their sweet time getting there. When they, finally, appeared to reclaim their bags I was bouncing on the balls of my feet anxiously, keeping a lookout for my neighbor from the plane, just in case he intended to start up another conversation.

Though my friends all asked me what I was so jittery about, I refused adamantly in the hopes of making it out of the airport as quickly as possible. When we had hailed a cab, and I had calmed considerably, I told them the story of my neighbor. After the end of my explanation there was a moment of silence before they all burst out laughing. They continued to laugh for at least 5 more minutes and when they had all finally stopped laughing I muttered in an irritated voice, “Glad you all find the most awkward encounter of my life humorous.”

Well, of course that set them off all over again. So as they continued to laugh I moved my gaze to the window and stared, no doubt with an annoyed expression on my face, out at the passing scenery.

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