View Full Version : On-the-spot #6

04-29-2005, 01:12 AM

05-02-2005, 07:11 AM
I could hear her again. The woman sitting behind me was crying softly, trying not to be noticed. If I turned a little in my seat, I could see her sitting in the row by herself, and whenever she started crying again, she stared out the window at the clouds.

Finally, I turned slowly and slid into the empty seat beside her. I placed my hand over hers and offered her the tiny box of kleenex I carried in my purse. She looked up at me, and the tears welled up even more before she stared out the window again.

"Miss, I hope you don't mind, but I just wanted you to know if you need to talk to someone, I'm willing to listen." I sat there for an awkward minute, with no response coming from her. Understanding her silence, I stood to go back to my own seat, but then she turned to me.

"I thought I could do this, but it's so hard. Every minute on this plane I'm thinking about what my husband must have went through on 911."


05-10-2005, 06:26 AM
I was traveling alone - not my first time - and was sitting next to a woman, a girl, really, that I'd never seen before in my life. There was nothing unusual about that; I almost always found myself seated next to strangers.

They weren't usually crying, though. The girl wasn't sobbing, but tears were running down her cheeks as she stared at the seat in front of her. The oddest part was that she didn't seem particulary upset, as the tears came independent of any other outward sign of emotion. The only other thing the girl was doing was clutching the armrests with all her strength.

I reached out to touch her shoulder. "Um... is there anything I can do to help?" I asked. She jumped, as if I'd startled her, and turned eyes a shocking shade of green on me. For a long moment, we stared at each other, as I tried to figure out what the subtle wrongness about her was. Finally, she turned her gaze back to the seat.

When she spoke, there was something very strange about her voice. "No. My thanksss, but no. I sssimply do not enjoy flying." The way she drew out her 'ss' made her sound like a snake...

I spent the rest of the flight feeling like a mouse sitting next to a cobra.

05-12-2005, 07:14 AM
Dammit, I NEVER get an aisle seat. I was at the desk two hours before the flight, and I get stuck in a middle seat all the same. This flight had BETTER be full....

Naturally, no one boards in the prescribed order. By the time I get to my seat (near the back, far from toilets, natch), the overhead storage is completely full. Great - no legroom, no elbow room, and now no footroom.

Now I've got to squeeze past the lady in the aisle seat -- why couldn't she just have taken the friggin' next seat? Oh well, I suppose I'd do the same. I screw on my best 'stranger smile' and mumble "Excuse me, please". She doesn't look up, doesn't say anything -- just shifts her knees to one side. Jeez, at least say hi -- Oh. She's crying.

"Um, sorry, I just need to get to my seat."

Nothing -- a few sniffles. She keeps her head down, deep breath, wipes her eyes with her fingertips, squares her shoulders, looks straight ahead. Damn, I wish I'd seen her before her make-up ran and her eyes went all red. God, what a pig I am sometimes.

05-12-2005, 08:30 PM
I always get a heady rush as a plane taxies down the runway, picking up speed as it launches it's passengers into the great blue. This time, however, the plane cannot seem to get me high enough into the air, or far enough from the ground. As the behemouth finally levels off and the air stewards roll out the refreshments, I take a deep, cleansing breath and release my inner anxietys.
Yes, I am finally on my way to freedom!
Suddenly, and without warning, the woman beside me bursts out in tears. I am taken by surprise by this petite, college-age redhead. We have not exchanged two words since sitting down, but curiosity gets the best of me.
"Is there something I can do for you?" I ask, placing my hand on her arm.
She shakes her head, red hair sweeping her shoulders. "No, I am on my way back home, and I don't want to be." More sobs wrack her shoulders.
"Oh?" I don't know what to say to prompt her for more information, but it seems I didn't have to anyway as a torrent of words spilled from her."
"I have been with Jerry since I was a junior in high school. We were so much in love from the start. Now, six years later and me following him across the United States, he decides that he is joining the military to fight the war, and is sending me back home. I love him so much! What if he gets killed?"
What can I say? I have no advice for this young woman, for I, was escaping the most awful marriage anyone could imagine. Love? What was that? At this point I believed it to be a fairy tale that some cruel writer had created in their imagination. What I wouldn't give to exchange places with this woman, if only for a moment, to be able to realize what it is to be in love.
Handing her a tissue, I smiled. "Just don't ever forget what you are feeling right now, honey, it will carry you through and bring him back home to you. Never forget."
Green eyes looked at me thoughtfully for a moment. "Thank you," she sniffed.
I nodded and closed my eyes, my own tears stinging at the back of them, now. Never forget, I tell myself.

05-14-2005, 07:28 AM
Today, you are on a plane. The lady seated beside you is crying inconsolably. Why is she crying? Do you get involved? Is she afraid of flying or is she leaving her old life behind for a new one? Tell your reader the story behind the tears or why you didn't find out the story...

Go for 5 minutes...and don't edit yourself. GO>>>

i lean over and smile at the young lady. "howdy ma'am. What seems to be the rpoblem?"

She sniffled into her handkerchief. "My husband left me."

"I can't believe that! you're the most gorgeous woman I've ever met!" I nearly slapped myself as the words left my mouth. I turned away from her exotic beauty and tried to stare out the plane window.

"You... you really think so?" She seemed almost hopeful.

"I do." I continued to stare out the glass. The clouds flew by as we zoomed across the landscape. "I don't know why I said it, but it came out before I could control myself."

"It was nice, anyway." she replied, wiping her eyes.

"You're most welcome. I jsut wish there was something I could do to make you feel better." I turned and looked at her with an echoing sorrow in my eyes.

"There is," she said softly. "How good are you with a shotgun?"

My eyes must have widened at those words. "I'm serious. If you waste that SOB for me, my life would only get better."

"but... ma'am..."

"Dont ma'am me," she snapped. Her emotions had jumped from sorrow to crazed anger. "that bastard left me for my twin sister and now he wants to get custody of our kids. What kind of sick freak is he? Can you imagine the psychological damage this will do to the kids?" her voice suddenly had a mocking tone to it. "Hey childrne, meet your new mom - yes she looks the same as the old, but this one has more money."

whew... that one came out a bit odd, didn't it? And I didn't even get to the woodchucks.

Ray M

05-27-2005, 01:02 AM
Before I boarded the plane I thought of everything that could go wrong. It's a habit of mine to think negatively. I tried my best to keep my mind on more productive things, but I couldn't help some of the thoughts that came into my mind. Could I get food poisoning from what they serve me? Could I have a heart attack while being up here? And of course the biggest concern of mine. . . Could the plane actually crash?

Once the plane took off my nerves kicked in. I braced myself for anything that could happen. I waited, and waited, and waited for the worse, but it never came. Instead, something happened I <i>didn't</i> expect. The woman next to be was crying prefusely. It was subtle at first, but now I had no doubt in my mind that everybody on the plane could hear her. Except, nobody acknowledged her. Nobody turned their heads and nobody asked her what her problem was. Since I was sitting right next to her, I felt the most awkward. I wasn't sure if I should talk to her or ignore the cries. Maybe she just wanted to be left alone. I pretended to not notice her crying, like the rest of the passengers.

01-18-2008, 12:19 PM
We're not even off the ground and she's weeping like the world is coming to an end.

"Want a tissue?" I pull some from my pcket and hand them over.

She just nods, her long seal-dark hair covering her face and takes the small packet with a slender hand. No wedding band, not even a pale outline of where one might have been. Her nails are trimmed, no polish, she's 30 something, keeps her face from me so she won't have to share the sorrow.

We are pushed back by the gees and then climb, she still weeps. The turbulence is unexpected but passes quickly, 2-3 seconds as the lights flicker and my glasses slip off as we level out. I catch them and put them back on. It's still dim and heads lol as folks try to sleep on the red-eye.

Her hand takes mine and I notice she's quieter. She dabs at her lips and turns all smiles, all smiles--all teeth and nothing else!

No eyes, no nose, just that maw splitting her head and getting close--

04-02-2008, 07:17 AM
I thought I was the only one who cried like that. Publicly, unashamedly, uncontrollably. Alone, surrounded by strangers. I remember the woman who comforted me on a cold, damp train station years ago. She offered me a tissue and sat close enough to let me know she cared. I told her my story through my tears. I was still crying when my train finally arrived but it was better, I think, knowing that another person cared.

I don't have any tissues to offer. Besides, she has her own. I am seated close to her, closer than I'd choose, but the plane is full and there's nowhere else to be. I look at her, hoping to catch her eye and smile reassuringly but she doesn't turn towards me.

The flight attendant is coming up the aisle, checking seat belts. I look pleadingly towards her, hoping she'll have a professional way to deal with the problem but she's already past me, her mind on a hundred other things to do before take-off.

So I turn back to the woman beside me. Her tears are still flowing though her breathing is becoming more even. I have no words.

I remember crying with my mother one time. She took my hand and stroked my knuckles. It was a trick she'd learned from her mother and it always comforted me.

I can't do nothing. I can't ignore her.

But I have no words.

Hesitantly, I reach across and touch the woman's hand. I feel her muscles tighten underneath my fingers, but I stroke her softly, as my mother once did for me. She sniffs and I can see that the tears are falling more slowly now. Her hand turns under mine and clutches it.

'Sh,' I whisper, meaninglessly. 'Sh, it's all right. It's going to be okay.' Nonsense to say but it seems to calm her so I continue to murmur the platitudes.

She looks at me for the first time. I smile. She starts to mouth an apology.

'It's all right,' I tell her. 'I know how you feel.'

04-02-2008, 08:28 AM
She is crying softly. I sigh, then dig around in my carry on.

"Hi," I say. "Would you like a tissue?"

"Thank you." She sniffs, then blows her nose. I hand her another.

I dig again into my carry on. "Is there anything you need? I've got tissues, some Valium well I can't really spare that a shot of single malt scotch. A book maybe, to take your mind off of whatever...?"

Thank you, she says.

"Ssssttt." That's my husband. He's trying to get my attention. "Steeeeeephanie! Don't get involved." David doesn't like me talking to strangers because that means he'll have to talk with strangers. He's an introvert.

As usual, I ignore him.

04-02-2008, 04:46 PM
Today, you are on a plane. The lady seated beside you is crying inconsolably. Why is she crying? Do you get involved? Is she afraid of flying or is she leaving her old life behind for a new one? Tell your reader the story behind the tears or why you didn't find out the story...

Go for 5 minutes...and don't edit yourself. GO>>>

Yes, there is someone crying, ever so softly and it seems to be coming from behind me. I wonder if I should take a peek and see if what I'm hearing is right. I decide a trip to the bathroom is in order for discreetness sake. As I walk by, I see that it is a youngish woman crying into her airline blanket. The people on each side of her are sleeping. She looks up as I pass. I hesitate. Then reaching into my purse I pass her a packet of tissue without comment. She smiles a watery half smile and nods slightly. I continue on my way, wondering if I should have said or done something more, soothing or compassionate to let her know I care.

04-06-2008, 02:06 AM
Today, you are on a plane. The lady seated beside you is crying inconsolably. Why is she crying? Do you get involved? Is she afraid of flying or is she leaving her old life behind for a new one? Tell your reader the story behind the tears or why you didn't find out the story...

Go for 5 minutes...and don't edit yourself. GO>>>

The 'Fasten Seat Belts' signed blinked off as the plane levelled off and began its long journey into late night sky. I sighed and unclipped the seat belt, watching as the two young stewardesses made their way down the aisles, checking to see if the passengers needed anything, handing out blankets and pillows for those who wanted to sleep. We had been delayed six hours at the airport and I had despaired that this flight to New York would ever depart in time for me to enjoy my short but much longed for vacation.

"Do you need a blanket or pillow?" The stewardess had reached my aisle seat and was smiling softly down at me and the passenger seated next to me.

"I'll just have a blanket," I replied. I wasn't feeling tired yet but I knew that it would soon creep upon me, afterall, I had been up since six o'clock this morning and hadn't gone to bed until after midnight when I had finished packing.

The stewardess passed me a blanket and gave the lady sitting next to me a pillow and a blanket. I unfolded the plain, blue blanket and draped it over my legs before relaxing back into my seat, letting the quietness of the cabin soothe my frantic mind. It had been a long day, dashing around at work making sure that everything that needed to be done had been done before hurrying home to grab my suitcase and holdall and heading off for the airport only to find that the flights were delayed due to the bad weather sweeping through the area. Still, we were now airborne, and my holiday was just starting and I was determined to enjoy every minute of it.

I don't know how much time had passed before I became aware of the woman sat next to me gently weeping into the soft folds of her blanket. I hadn't paid much attention to the woman when I had boarded the plane. All I had noticed was thate the window seat was strangely empty, the woman sitting in the middle seat next to my aisle seat.

I looked at her, noting the fine, silver streaked hair and the delicate creases around her eyes. She looked to be in her sixties, someone's mother or grandmother perhaps. Whoever she was, she seemed to be very upset over something. I watched as tears slowly slipped from beneath closed eyes, her breathing ragged as she tried not to sob out loud.

"Erm, excuse me, are you okay?" I asked not wanting to appear nosy but concerned by her distress.

The woman drew in a deep, shuddering breath before she turned her tear drenched eyes upon me. They were a pale blue, I noted, slightly pinkened by the crying that she had been doing.

"I'm alright, dear, just a little upset." Her voice was soft and gentle, filled with a sadness that plucked at me.

"Are you going on holiday?" I asked, wanting to help but not sure how to.

"No, I'm travelling to New York to go and live with my daughter. She's been asking us, me I should say, to do it for months. I thought it was time to take her up on her offer."

"Are you travelling alone?" It seemed strange to me that no one was travelling with a lady of her advanced years. I certainly would not have let my mother travel to New York on her own.

The woman looked at the empty seat next to her. Her eyes took on a dreamy, faraway look as she remembered distant conversations, plans and dreams for a future that wasn't to be. "We were supposed to be travelling together. Setting up a new future with our daughter and her family. Enjoying our retirement with our family. But then he found a lump," her voice faltered, her breath shuddering as she remembered that fateful day. "It came on so fast and there was nothing they could do. Nothing at all." She smiled slightly at me, trying to be positive for the new future that awaited her. "He made me promise to still come out here and live with our daughter after he'd gone. Told me that he would always be with me, in here." She placed a hand over her heart before her eyes fell on the pain wedding band on her finger. "I just have to get used to that empty seat that's always going to be next to me."

I sat in silence, unsure of what to do or say. How hard it must be for someone to lose their husband after having planned a future where they could enjoy their family and each other. My much needed holiday now seemed insignificant when compared to this lady's reason for travelling and what she had gone through.

"Can I get you a tea or coffee?" The arrival of the stewardness provided a welcome break in our brief conversation. We ordered our drinks and sat back to drink them in silence. I felt sure that we would talk again during our long flight but for now, silence was our companion as the plane continued its long flight towards the next chapter in our lives.

04-06-2008, 02:26 AM
"What, my dear lady, could be the matter?" I asked the blubbering old woman on the stopped plane.

She blew her nose into her jacket sleeve, leaving a snail trail of mucus and bowed her head until her chin rested on a sagging bosom "I...I...don't know where to start."

"The beginning will do nicely" I said.

"I...I love riding planes. I would spend the last of my pension for the thrill of it all."

"Well, then, it seems to me you're in the right place."

She replied "That I am. That I am. But I can't get enough of it. I want more."

"Don't you have any more money?"

"Oh, I have money to spare!"

"Well I suggest you pay for another ride and make yourself happy."

"I did. I had just bought another ride and," she lowered her head even farther in shame "I can't talk about it. I feel..."

"It's ok. We've all had times of embarassment. You're secret's safe withy me" I assured her.

"Well, it was like this. The plane had just started to really go and then..."

"Then what?"

"Do you see that door over there?"

"Why, yes I do."

"The manager of Target came out that door and unplugged my plane."