I can’t remember which flight this was on. After eight flights back and forth across the country through four airports I had a bad case of passenger seat. On the final leg I had been evacuated from my hotel at four o’clock in the morning. I pack light and I had checked out the night before so I was ready to go.
Fire alarms aren’t always about fire and smoke; I had checked the door for heat and cracked it open sniffing for smoke. There was nothing, not even any sounds of panic. I threw on my clothes and left.
The lobby was full of travelers in pajamas, wrapped in blankets, babbling about missing their flights. I was the only customer on the shuttle to the airport, four hours too early where I promptly spilled a whole cup of coffee on my soft-sided suitcase. It stank for the whole ride.
I had an aisle seat and there was a woman in the window seat. We were both startled when a man standing over me, his belly pressed up against my left ear, began throwing his newspapers and magazines into the middle seat between us. He settled himself busy and bothersome into the middle, me feeling squished. Window woman and I exchanged a look. I figured ah well, another flight from hell. Then a sweet natured woman came up the aisle and stopped at our row.