It was a sunny afternoon at LAX, and I was waiting for my flight back to my university. I was sitting on a black leather seat reading The New York Times hoping it would magically speed up time. Periodically, I would glance to see if there was anyone worth having a conversation with because I was bored. I looked to my left, and there was a balding man wearing a brown suit reading The New Yorker. I scrutinized him carefully to see if he was worth talking to. Nah he’s too busy. Then I eyed someone to my right, a student who looked like she was from my school. She was listening to her Ipod, and tapping her foot. She’s tempting to ask, but she’s too involved with her music. I look back to my newspaper, reading the cultural article on gardening. I flipped the pages and slumped into my seat. When I turned the page to the sports’ section, I spotted someone reading Aldous Huxley’s well known novel, Brave New World. The novel reminded me of a self-help book I read by humanist Rollo May, Love and Will.
I stood up in the man’s direction. “The novel you’re reading reminds me of a book called Love and Will.”
The man looked up at me from his book. “Really?”
“Yeah, it’s about how people become more jaded.”
“I read this book when I was a sophomore in high school. He pointed at the book. “I’m just looking over my scribbles I took back in the day.”
I giggled. “I never read A Brave New World, but I know it’s similar to Love and Will because I explained the book to my friends and they told me that it reminded them of the novel.”
“Why don’t you sit down next to me? I can’t hear you well because other passengers are talking over us.” He motioned me to the broken leather seat next to him.
I hesitated. “Are you sure no one is waiting for you?”
He shook his head. “No, no. Just come sit.”
I walked over to him and sat down. He put his hand out. “Hi, my name is Evan. What’s your name?”
I shook his hand. “My name is Heather, where are you heading off to?”
“I’m heading off to San Francisco.”
My heart skipped a beat. “I’m heading off to San Francisco too! What part of San Francisco do you live?”
“I live in Pacific Heights.”
I raised my eyebrow. “Where is that?” I slapped my knee. “Oh wait! I know where that is! You live in the rich area!”
He scrunched his eyebrows. “Um, I don’t consider myself rich. But I do make enough to afford a one bedroom apartment for my dog and me.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, what do you do?”
His eyes widened. “I work in the commercial real estate industry. What do you do?”
“I’m a student at the University of San Francisco.” I pursed my lips. “What is commercial real estate?”
“In commercial real estate, I sell buildings and lands that are used to make money.”
“Like malls?” I piped in.
He nodded. “Like malls.”
“That is so cool. Where did you go to school?”
He leaned back in his chair. “I went to a small school that you probably haven’t heard of. It’s called Fort Lewis.”
I scratched my head. “Nope, I haven’t heard of it. What main city is the school near?”
. “It’s near a city called Telluride.”
“Oh! They have the Telluride Film Festival!” I yelped.
He grinned. “Yes, that’s where they hold the famous festival. I used to work at the lodges during the festival. It was a ton of fun.”
He picked up a water bottle on the floor that was filled with brown water and gunk. “I have to spit something out, so I think it’s better if you turn around for a minute unless you don’t care.”
I shook my head. “I don’t mind.”
He chewed first and then spit another brown wad of tobacco in the water bottle. “Sorry, about that.”
I scrunched my face. “It’s okay, but that’s kind of disgusting.”
He looked back at me. “So tell me more about the book you read. “Love and Will, right?”
I nodded. “Yeah. I read the book because I’m going through a rough time.”
He raised his eyebrows. “I see. That’s great that a book has been helping you through a really rough time.”
“The book showed me how sex is treated as a commodity now rather than an intimate exchange between two people. There is an increase of apathy and decrease of connection. It’s sad that people are treating each other as objects rather than actual human beings.”
“Hmmmmm……well, I do agree to an extent.” He paused. “But hey if two partners are willing to commit to each other in sex without emotional attachment, all the power to them.”
“I guess, but that rarely happens. Sex is never a straight transaction. Feelings are often hurt, people get attached, and drama happens.”
He shrugged. “I do agree, but there are times that it could happen. It’s a rare occurrence, but it does happen.”
“Group A is ready for boarding, Group A is ready for boarding, Group A is ready for boarding,” yelled overhead speaker.
Evan stood up. “That’s my group, what group are you in?”
I looked up at him. “I’m in group C.”
“I’ll save a seat for you on the plane.”
I smiled. “Thanks, but you don’t have to.”
He shook his head. “Hey, I think we have a great conversation, I think we should continue it.”
“Kay, I’ll find you on the plane,” I said.
By the time I stepped foot on the plane, there were barely any seats available. I browsed the aisles to see where Evan was sitting. I spotted him, and he waved at me. I was happy at least I had someone to talk to.
I put my bags down under the seat and buckled my belt. There were still a few passengers in line waiting for seats.
“So, it’s nice to see you again,” I said.
“It’s nice to see you too!” he smiled back.
I fastened my seatbelt. “What are you going to be doing after you get back to San Francisco?”
He opened his table from the seat. “My friend is picking me up, and we are going to hang out and have some drinks. Then I’m going to go home, relax and chill with my dog.”
I folded my hands. “What kind of dog do you have?”
He beamed. “I’m not really sure what type of breed she is. I believe she is a mix of chow, German Shepard, Labrador. She’s a cool dog though.”
“Where did you get her?” I looked at him curiously.
“I got her at a rescue when she was a puppy. She was owned by a homeless couple, but she got taken away after the vets found out the situation she was in.”
I nodded. “That’s cool. I have a dog, too. He’s mixed with Pekingese and Poodle. So a Pekepoo.”
He laughed. “That’s funny, where did you get him?”
I gave him an amused look. “My parents actually got him from my aunt who lives in Las Vegas. So he’s a Vegas dog.
The stewardess, dressed in her white collar shirt, navy blue vest and skirt beckoned over our seats. “What would you like to drink?”
Evan turned his head. “I would like coffee with cream and sugar on the side.”
I piped in. “I would like hot tea with cream and sugar.”
The stewardess quickly wrote down our orders. “Thank you very much. We will be taking off soon.”
The seat belt sign blinked on and off, signaling the passengers to buckle up. I looked to the front of the aisle and saw a steward grab a speaker. “Please pull your seat in the upright position, fasten your seatbelt, and put your table away.”
I buckled my seatbelt and stared straight ahead. Evan levered his seat to the upright position, and put his table away. I felt the plane vibrate as it gathered speed. I turned to look at Evan, and saw that he closed his eyes.
I woke up to Evan poking me. “Put your table down, they’re serving nuts and drinks now.”
I rubbed my eyes, “Wha?” My hands went to the armrest. “Oh okay.”
The stewardess motioned me to put my table down. “Oh okay.” She handed me my hot tea. “Be careful, it’s hot. There is already cream and sugar inside.”
I sipped my tea. “Thanks.”
Evan sipped his coffee. “So, what are you studying at your school?”
“I’m studying Communications, and I’m a dance minor.”
He eyed me carefully. “I see. What kind of dance do you do?”
My eyes widened and I smiled. “My forte is ballet, but I’ve done jazz, tap, flamenco, modern, and hip-hop. But my school focuses on modern.”
He sipped his coffee again. His eyebrows widened. “I see. What’s modern?”
I bared my teeth, inhaled, and scrunched my nose. “How do I explain this?” I scratched my head. “It’s hard to explain. I can give you a metaphor to what modern dance is.
Evan’s lips turned down and he shrugged his shoulders. “Sure, why not?”
My smile widened. “Thanks. Modern dance is like when you look at an abstract painting, and you’re not sure what it means. There are many interpretations to it. For example, I could be walking around in circles with a bunch of glass cups surrounding me. That could be considered modern dance.”
His eyebrows furrowed into the middle of his forehead, and his lips formed a tight circle. “So you mean a person could be eating a banana in his boxers and walking around a stage?”
I nodded. “Sure, if that’s what the choreographer wants. There is some really crazy modern dance work out there. There is this one choreographer, Trisha Brown, who has this famous work of people climbing in an obstacle maze. Modern dance is the defiance of traditional dance and the rules associated with it.”
He touched his head. “Hmm….but then what’s going to be considered excellent dance work or bad dance work?”
I tilted my eyes to the right, and scrunched my lips. “Dance is subjective. So it really depends on who’s watching. Personally for me it would depend on the choreography.”
I bent forward towards him. “So enough with me.” I gestured to myself. “What do you like to do?”
He pointed to himself. “Me? I like the outdoors. Biking, snowboarding, mountain biking, soccer, anything physical, I like to do.”
“That’s great. I went snowboarding before. There was one time I was attempting to snowboard and I ended up tumbling down the hill. A tree stopped me.”
He cracked up. “That’s hilarious.”
“It hurt, a lot.”
He tried to keep himself from laughing more. “It’s still funny to imagine you tumbling down a slope and crashing into a tree.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Like you haven’t been in ridiculous situations?”
He looked at me slyly. “I mean, I have, but none as funny as your snowboarding accident.”
“Haha, very funny,” I smirked.
I felt the plane shake. “We have turbulence,” the pilot said over the speaker. “Please stay calm, it will soon go away.”
I squeezed my body. “Ack, that’s uncomfortable.”
His eyes crinkled and he smiled broadly. “It’s kind of like a rollercoaster.”
Evan relaxed into his seat. “For me it is.”
There was a crackling sound heard from the speaker. “We will be landing at SFO in ten minutes. I will repeat again. We will be landing at SFO in ten minutes.”
I looked around my surroundings. The person, who had the window seat in my aisle, was reading the airlines’ magazine. In the other aisles, I saw a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt, khaki pants, and slippers. His chair was tilted backwards and he was in the sleeping. There was also a teenager wearing a cotton dress, wearing headphones, and checking her ipod.
“I’m kind of nervous about going back to school.” I looked at Evan.
He drew together his lips. “Why is that?”
I sighed. “The reason is because, it’s my last year, and it’s been a difficult one.”
I half smiled. “It’s okay. Bad things happen all the time. It’s cool, it’s a learning experience.”
He patted me on the back. “Touche.”
The speaker crackled again. “We are getting reading for landing. Please buckle your seatbelt, and put your seat in the upright position.”
The stewardess came by my seat. “Ma’am, may you please put your table away. We are getting reading for landing.”
I glanced up. “Thank you, I will.”
Evan and I walked together to the baggage claim. “Are you excited to be home?” I questioned him.
He gave a slow nod. “Yeah, I’m glad to be home. I’m not excited to be working tomorrow though.”
I giggled. “Why were you in Los Angeles?”
“I was visiting my ex-girlfriend from college. She lives with her boyfriend in L.A.”
My eyes widened. “Really? You’re close to your ex-girlfriend?”
His tongue clicked his teeth. “I’m on good terms with many of my ex-girlfriends. I actually went to one of my ex-girlfriend’s wedding.”
I looked at him stunned. “Really? I wouldn’t do that. I would hate remembering all the memories I had with them.”
“Well, I’ve been lucky with girls. Many of them haven’t been too crazy except for one.”
I looked at him incredulously. “Wow, you must be pretty respectful when it comes to breaking up with people.”
“Well, aren’t you supposed to break up with people in a respectful manner?” He questioned, and then looked at the carousel to find his bag.
I moved closer to the wheel to look for my bag. “You’re supposed to. But I haven’t had many of those.”
“What?” He looked at me.
“You know peaceful breakups.”
He glanced at me sadly. “It’s okay. The hard ones you learn the most from.”
“There’s my bag.” He dragged his rolling suitcase from the carousel.
“I don’t want to leave, but I have to go because my friend is waiting for me. He’s picking me up.”
I shook my head. “It’s okay. I’ll be fine.” I dug out my phone from my handbag. “What’s your number? We should keep in touch.”
He dropped his rolling suitcase and dug his phone out from his pants. “That would be great.”
“My number is 661-758-8452.” I scrolled down my phone to contacts. “What’s your number?”
“Mine is 415-736-9586. Thanks. Keep in touch.”
“I will.” I approached him and gave him a hug. He hugged me back.
I watched him walk away until he became a blurry dot. Then I went back to the carousal for my bag.
“Ah, home sweet home.” I entered my dorm room and placed my clothes in my closet. Then I reached my cell again to call my boyfriend to tell him I was back from home, and that we should hang out.