Overheard on an airplane

The scene: a crowded, musty propeller airplane with poor ventilation

The girl: brunette wearing a knee-length striped sweater and a bandage on her right hand, upper twenties, weary looking as all other passengers on the plane

The conversation: “Yeah I’m flying to Raleigh…my boyfriend is going to pick me up from the airport.  I’ll spend the night, break up with him and take the car.  Then I’ll drive across the country.  I don’t have a plan.  I’m just going to drive from North Carolina to Oregon or something.  Who knows what will happen.  I don’t have a plan.”

“That’s right…I’m just as wild as you always though I was. “

“I said, ‘I’m just as wild as you always thought I was.'”

The flight: turbulent, too hot, exhausting

The landing: after thrusters slamming us all against our seatbelts

The conversation with her boyfriend: “You’re at the airport to pick me up already?  You’re such a good little stalker.  I’ll meet you at baggage claim.”

“Yeah? Thank you for the call.”

She calls the first one back, and this is the first time she bothers to whisper…still too loudly to be ignored in that claustrophobic space: “This is it. I’m doing it. Wish me luck.”

And me: sitting two rows behind her, knitting, flying last minute to see my dying grandmother one last time…her lungs are filling with cancer but this girl is the one who is having heart trouble

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