Monday, December 30, 2013

pressing the flesh

The woman in 13D was so large she took up a good third of 13C as well. I looked down at my assigned seat, saw a seatbelt buckle emerging apologetically from beneath her left thigh, and I settled in next to her. "Am I sitting on anything?" she said.

"Oh, I don't think so," I said, smiling, clicking my seatbelt parts together. I didn't know what else to say.

It was clear she'd be sharing my seat with me – the physics of the situation was such – and at some point in the two-and-a-half-hour flight, we both knew, our thighs would become more acquainted than either of us would have preferred, so we both unclenched our buttocks, relaxed and snuggled up against each other. Why fight it? It was a strange kind of snuggle, not entirely unenjoyable, a two-and-a-half-hour handshake, but with legs instead of hands. We never said another word.

Dressed all in black, she spent the whole flight wishing she was smaller than she was, even breathing as shallowly as possible to minimize the excursions of her fleshAs large as she was, she looked more like a hummingbird than anything, a frightened one.