Unlike my tricky experience with fire, which happened several years ago, I am slightly ashamed to say that this event happened only a few weeks ago. Alas, I cannot blame my folly on the ignorance of the past, but on my stupidity of the present. Well, not stupidity exactly, more like reasonable clumsiness?
But wait a minute. I’m getting ahead of myself. I was sitting next to a stranger on Southwest Airlines, preparing for our imminent flight to Florida. She was a tall and slender African American woman, wearing tasteful clothing and carrying herself with the utmost confidence and grace, making me feel the tiniest bit intimidated. Her son was sitting in the aisle seat beside her.
Being the awkward and insecure individual that I am, I did not initiate conversation and instead chose to placidly stare out the window. My in-flight companion, however, who obviously wasn’t as insecure as I was, looked at me, smiled broadly, showing off her lovely teeth, and began,
“Hello. My name’s Kelly. Pleased to meet you.”
A little started by the initiation of social interaction, I quickly replied, “Hello, Kelly. My name’s Anusha.”
“Anusha-what a nice name. Why are you flying?”
“Visiting family down in Florida, and you?”
She again smiled and shook her head, “Family wedding down in Atlanta. We’re staying for the weekend.”
“Wow, that’s sounds like fun. How’s the weather down there”
And on, and on our conversation went. Over the course of the next few minutes, I found out that she was a distinguished dermatologist and a graduate of the University of Virginia. Even saying that I was impressed is an understatement. As we continued conversing, she began dispelling my fears of college in the fall, assuring me that it wasn’t nearly as large and overwhelming as it seemed.
I quite like my in-flight companion… I thought as I began to nod off into the dark, comforting world of slumber, finally allowing my heavy eyelids to shut.
Feeling a gentle prodding at my shoulder, I awoke with a start in what seemed like a few minutes later. The sight must have been comical: A bewildered adolescent with her hair in a rat’s nest, looking up in sheer wonder at the flight attendant standing a few feet away from her.
Her face makeuped to perfection and bright eyes shining, she asked me, “Would you like anything to drink?”
Having just woken up a couple of seconds ago, I was slow to process her words.
“Er, some water would be great.”
Evidently a lot quicker than I was, she whipped out a plastic cup and filled it to the brim with cold, icy water. Just as she passed it to Kelly who held the cup to me, the world started to precariously tilt sideways. Still drunk on my own sleep, I grasped the cup with whatever force I could muster. But it wasn’t enough. The slippery plastic cup would not remain in my hands and damningly leaned to the left, spilling most of its contents onto my in-flight companion.
I watched in horror as her jeans grew dark and wet from the stains the water had left. What had I done? To be continued…