The ground staff have just made their exit and I’m sure the last thing on your mind
is a whimsical pen at play. Down the aisle I see you, a tail of hair, an odd elbow
if I’m lucky. I remember when I saw you first, moments ago at the door,
as I streamed in alongside an anxious flurry of veterans and virgins.
You must have mouthed the customary ‘Good evening.’
or ‘Welcome aboard.’ or ‘How are you?’ It doesn’t matter.
I don’t remember. It wasn’t your words that made those split-seconds
worth another visit. Was it the cheeky half-grin accompanying them?
The cabin in-charge for the day, Nancy she calls herself, holds the receiver to her lips
as she rattles off a well-rehearsed safety briefing. I look up. A seat belt has never assumed such inviting proportions. As your hands make their way through oxygen mask and life-jacket, twice over, I wonder why I’d never paid attention
to these things before. We’re about to take off when you prance
around with a bag, frantically seeking a generous overhead bin.
It isn’t until you’ve tried at least seven that you find one offering just enough, above me.
I inhale. Your aroma is as strong as it is invigorating. An inaudible sigh escapes within.
I watch you and turn away, smiling without cause or concern. The flight is sprinkled
with cursory interaction and your unintentional brushing of my arm in your stride.
The air is made pleasant by good air conditioning working in tandem with your gentle presence. Meanwhile, Nancy unconsciously wages a desperate war to seize
my attention. Another day, and she’d have had more than her share. So I twist,
and stretch, consider sleep, then shut the thought, and all the while your nimble feet
walk past mine at intervals so regular, it makes me think you’ve caught
a whiff of my devotion. I can only wish my words will mean something to you.
I haven’t really done this before. Then again, I haven’t really come across
someone quite as alluring at similar cruising altitudes.
Your charms are immense. You make me delight in a sandwich
I would have never picked off a menu. I observe many a pair of eyes
shadowing your every move, and as we head into another bout of turbulence,
I take my chance with telepathy.
Hello. I assume you must be content having my mind at your disposal since
the time I stepped into your aerial kingdom. It isn’t easy sitting where I sit,
watching you go about your routine while the desire to converse with you
eats me from within. But, I won’t act on this impulse. I won’t badger you
with the likes of ‘A bottle of water, please.’ and ‘Do you have today’s paper?’
I won’t even give you the opportunity to ask me to set my seat-back upright
or close my tray table. I won’t unbuckle my seat belt, even when the sign is off,
or bother to find out what the rest of your crew looks like. I’ll stay awake
and silence the urge to count sheep, no matter how drowsy the aerated beverage
I bought from you makes me. I won’t mull over my existence
before and after this journey. I won’t stare, I won’t swear. I’ll stay put in my seat,
much to the dismay of the passengers beside me, till I hear the aerobridge
is in place. I’ll smile often, laugh a little and savour the purple sky
illuminated by the cries of two infants, both blissfully unaware of this brief mention.
I’ll return your grin when I disembark. No words will be spoken.
You won’t know of this letter. But, that’s alright.
You’ve had me for over two hours and forty minutes.