Like misbehaved school children, the line of people infront of me tried desperately to pass eachother. The rushed brats were attempting at a faster escape from the wicked teachers. It was a good source of entertainment for people like myself, knowing that no matter how fast you finished your lesson you're still waiting for the bell; and our bell was a plane - everyone knows they never arrive early. Yet still, the children scattered around dropping off their bags into bins to be scanned; and the 'teachers' inspected everything at what seemed to be an extra relaxed pace.
lt was nearly my turn to place my shoes on the rack, and pray to god they didn't smell too bad. Not like it will get me in trouble, but I've already got tears in my eyes - my ego is only so big to start. My shoe laces were decorated in the speckled colour of dirt and sand; I dare not untie them to reveal the untainted white underneath. The black bag that weighed down my arm, holding only my wallet and piles of sudoku was placed in the bin with my shoes and started it's travel down the table. Atleast three security guards at each station for every single filed person, left us feeling both secure and slightly violated; I'm just glad the metal detector didn't go off. Picking up my bags with a smile, I left the silly gathering of suspecting guards and unsuspecting students. Crowds like that give me the willies.
Ten minutes down straight hallways helped me block out the people around me quite easily, as I weaved around all different sizes of walking luggage. The purple bag in particular caught my eye, angry little face on the back of it's head as it waddled down the floors ready to burst. I stared at it, wondering about its contents. What in the hell was that jagged edge peaking out the side of it anyways? Why wasn't That inspected?
"Aw you ol'righ?" The bag spoke to me... or so it seemed for a whole few seconds. I jerked my head up and took a deep breath, allowing myself time to answer the 'bag's' question.
"Yeah, yeah I'm fine. Just on my way home from vacation, so yanno, they have such big hallways to give us the chance to take our sweet ass time - right?" I replied with a smile. A polite smile. Not one of those 'will flirt for chocolate' grins.
"Well, actuallly I was tokin' abou' the transparent little cubicle you've got yerself locked in." He looks at me and suddenly I feel myself drown in a lake of pink. My 'cubicle' was transparent for a reason. "Oh, and you've got a pair of knickers hanging out the bottom left corna of yer bag. Maybe you were in a rush before you reached the worm hole of this hallway?" He winks at me, and yet again my cheeks are overwhelmed. Fearing the worst, I didn't even look back. I looked down. Wasn't much left of my dignity now, was there?
Look down, look down. Pick up the 'knickers' and walk on. Life does not depend on your underwear... Well, not in this circumstance. I bend down; my thoughts were pouring out of my ears, as my emberassment took over my body. My underpants, however, crawled back into my bag and I climbed back up onto my feet. He was still there, just as friendly looking as before. Which seemed a little more creepy now that he had seen my undergarments... I couldn't think of much to say for a while after that, so instead I strolled along side my new airplane buddy down the halls of the airport. We secretly held the mutual agreement of silence until we reached the waiting area and had no other choice but to talk. Ugh, getting to know someone - getting to know their flaws and more of mine. Why do people feel the need to do this?
The blue chairs were less than cushy, but I couldn't help but sigh a smile at the sound of Darrel's voice in my head reminding me that there was 'plenty o' "cushy" on my butt.' It's like he sits behind my ear so I can still hear him while he's gone. I'm sure it made me look mentally unstable to the wandering passerby, but everybody likes a story to go home with. My story being the stranger currently sitting across from me - who ironically, was staring at me with an open mouth awaiting the perfect moment to tell me a story of his own.
"You 'ave a booga hangin'." His oversized, over worn hands reached up to my face slowly, only to fall back down hard on his knee. "I'm just kiddin', I'm sorry. Oh man, that gets you gals all'a time!" His nose wrinkled in ways I've never seen from a grown man, and he let out a snort. Maybe even a booger of his own.
"Oh great, we got ourselves a Keeper folks! Smooth-Talkin'-Keeper." Jokingly rolling my eyes, my sarcastic side dominated the annoyed side. As it usually does, you never make fun of a snort when you are a snorter. Never. The two of us had a moment undefined by strangers, and sighed. One more hour of that, awkward looks and fun jokes and we were walking in a filed line again - nearing our plane.
...I wonder if Darrel went straight back home.
The floors that connected from the airport to the plane were suspiciously noisy, as if they were just sheets of metal piled up beneath me.The women's high heels were especially irritating - but when are they ever not? I hear the words "Welcome and thank you for traveling with AirCanada." sneak into my ears ever so quietly. This flight attendant must be new, and shy. Painted nails grabbed a hold of my ticket and more words crawled into my head. Something about: 'the second isle', 'nearer the back', 'widows see'... Or maybe 'window seat', who knows.
Too many chins held high as everyone looked up at the letters for their seats. A dozen people ahead of me, starting and stopping as they double check letters and numbers. Part of me has always wondered whether wealthy people, with those high paying jobs - that travel from country to country on business trips deserved the money they were making. Did they infact know their alphabet? The man infront of me carried his laptop under his arm and his passport in his pocket, wide open and dangling out the side. 'George Duhley'. I was sure I heard that name somewhere, but I was nearing my seat and couldn't bring myself to care enough. I knocked the silly man's passport back in his pocket to ensure it didn't fall out, and hoped that he didn't feel it - or the need to turn around and ask what the hell I was doing.
Of course he would.
"Sorry, sir, I'm sorry. I, I just saw-"
"You know what, forget about it, you're just another teenager. How are You supposed to know the difference between right and wrong? Huh? Keep your hands to yourself!" As this George guy raised his voice at me, I felt myself wishing my mysterious stranger was still alongside me.
"Sir, I'm sorry I didn't mean to offend you. Your pass -"
"Please leave me alone, I won't hesitate to get the flight attendants involved." His stern voice trailed off, and I heard him talk to himself some more as he turned his head... "Not that they do their job anyway." I heard him mumble. He was one business man I didn't want to know; however our little dispute had him rushing faster down the isle. My chest fell back into place and I started to slouch again, as the sight of my seat comforted me. A white, untouched pillow, awkward looking blanket and some magazines were waiting just feet infront of me.
Or, not? My nose didn't believe my eyes and scrunged up as I saw that my seat was taken by someone's foot. I realize butts aren't really a step up, but feet should not be on my seat. I follow the hairy leg, and faded blue jean up to a familiar sweater, familiar chin hair and a familiar grin. Suddenly the foot didn't matter anymore, this was my retarded stranger. Amusement just entered the plane.
"There's no way this is your seat, that's the kind of lucky that doesn't happen on ten hour flights." I said, trying to sound a little less happy than I was. My non-existant-reputation can't risk looking too eager about all of this. After all, his toe outline was still dug into a place about to get my butt outline.
"Well yanno, I 'ad to pull some strings - but the lady's in their blue suits like me. They appreciate a good stalk'r when they see 'im." He gave me a wink, and a flight attendant the sly 'gun' looking gesture with his hand. Her back got straighter and she pretended not to see it. Quite professional really. "Yanno I'm kidden'! I didn' expect you ta stop either uh. It's good though, I've not slept beside a gal in ages." He said pulling two pillows out from under his seat. He really did make himself at home.
I playfully snatched my pillow out of his hand, and watched him pout at me. I saw his fake lip quiver and automatically thought about Darrel. His brown eyes drained of all their happiness, and his cheeks no longer supporting themselves against gravity. My heart sank with my gaze, some material ripping beneath my fingers. The pillow against my nails. Looking down to shake myself off of the moment, I heard my stranger apologize twenty times before the words registered. "No, no it's okay. I'm not actually mad at you or anything... Not upset about this. Don't worry." I've been caught under my own raincloud again. "To prove to you it's okay, you can have it." I offered. As he was about to decline, I finished with "but I get to choose how you use it." A confused look crossed briefly over his face until he played along.
"Ohhh, is missy creative?" He said...
It wasn't until now I realized his accent was growing weaker and weaker. I stared at him for a moment, and he knew that he too had been caught under his own cloud. "Alright, alright. I don't have an accent. I'm completely American. I just know you girls like the accents. English ones, french ones, italian ones, australian... I'm practicin'!"
Quark number thirty three. I thought to myself. He's a freak. A smile squeezed the uncertainty out of my eyes. This flight wasn't going to be so bad after all.