I switched back and forth between staring out the window and watching her sleep. From where I sat, it didn’t look like a peaceful sleep although, given the amount of vodka she’d consumed, and what her blood alcohol level likely was, I didn’t figure it could be. At one point, her head lulled to the side and landed on the gentleman seated next to her. This is why I hate coach. I reached over and repositioned her head, offering a silent apology to the man by way of a glance.
“Where are you headed?” He spoke up minutes later after I’d turned my attention out the airplane window and onto the clouds below.
“Boston.” I replied, but I didn’t turn to face him when I answered. I wasn’t in the mood for conversation.
“I gathered that much.”
“You two have family there?” he pried, clearly unable to take a hint.
Intending to get my point across, I shifted in his direction but somehow, when I saw the look on his face, I just couldn’t do it. His eyes were tired. Maybe even sad. He had a certain look about him, his expression one of weariness. But I saw something else, too. Hope, perhaps. I shook my head. “No. A friend.”
He nodded and I watched him visibly relax.
I motioned toward Amelie. “Or rather she has a friend.”
He seemed to ponder what to say next—if anything at all. Finally, he spoke but kept it short and sweet. Which was exactly the way I like it.
“I see,” he murmured and I thought we were done. I shifted once again and resumed staring out the window into the expanse.
However, to my dismay, he didn’t stop there. How could I forget? They never do. “So, where is it you’re staying in Boston?”
“I’m not sure,” I replied meeting his eye once more. This time, I studied him more intently. His face seemed somehow softer and older than when I’d first glanced over. His hair was mostly gray, but if I looked hard enough, I could still make out a few strands of black. He had large brown eyes, the kind that seemed to see right through you. If you let them. “This one’s trouble, no?” he remarked motioning toward a now drooling Amelie.
I nodded slightly. “Always has been. Probably always will be.”
He smiled widely. “Those are the best kind, you know.”
“Oh yeah? How’s that?” I asked, cocking my head to one side.
“They’re fighters. They know how to hang in there when the going gets tough.”
“Yeah—well, neither one of us has ever been very good at the hanging around part.”
He pursed his lips. “You’ve got time. You’re still young…”
I chuckled. “That, I guess, is assuming either of us wants to hang around.”
He coughed a bit and leaned forward. “You’ll change your mind.” He tried to assure me once he’d regained composure.
“Interestingly enough, it’s never been my mind I was worried about changing.” I paused and exhaled before continuing. “And quite honestly, I think the fighting part is sort of overrated.”
“Not if you’re dying, it isn’t.”
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