Walking through the isle of the plane is a girl with mandarin orange hair. Loose green shirt, blue eyes and a nice smile, but it’s when she looks directly at you that the smile seems to shock, slight electricity, from behind hey eyes through you and down the spine, as if it were a grounding rod to the butterflies in you stomach. The smile is brief, and she ends up working her way back to her seat behind you. Never mind the rest of the flight, the female dance team that have situated themselves in the seats surrounding you, the flamboyant flight attendant that has wooed said dance team. There’s a little girl, and it’s her birthday; the same flight attendant tells everyone to turn on their overhead lights, and then gets everyone to sing happy birthday to her. At the end, she lets out a big, blow-all-your-candles-out blow, and everyone turns their lights off. Trying to work just doesn’t fit the sate of your mind, as if work is a square that you’re trying to fit into a round hole in your mind. So you talk, about yourself, about those to whom you’re talking, about things beyond either of those.
The end of the flight and you’re waiting on the runway because you’re early, waiting the same wait as though you were still in the air. Eventually, you come to the anticlimax of the plane flight, the time where everyone gets up but nobody moves forward, until you see the slow rush of cramped people off to nowhere in particular. Take your stuff and go, walk with your companions through the maze of familiar signs telling you where to go, through trains with funny voices, all in an inconsequential blur until you reach the baggage claim, the squat, squarish metal machine. And again you wait, because that’s what you do. Here, again you’re reminded of the girl with the mandarin orange hair because she’s standing in front of you waiting, because that’s what everyone does. You exchange the kind of glances of two people who want to look at the other but not let the other see that you’re looking at them, though you really do, stay looking until they look and both look away; because that’s the point of looking, as if letting them know that you were looking made some kind of a difference in either of your lives. But the last time, as you walk away with your luggage, you look and she stares and smiles, full on, at you. And you know, somehow, that smiling look was at you and for you, and it did make a difference. Maybe you’ll meet her someday, but the world can’t possibly be that kind and strange.
So you go home and live your life. And you sometime write a story about her, because you remember that smile, and the smile was what mattered, not the hair, and you know at the end of your story that you will never forget.