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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1910617-The-Friendly-Skies
Rated: ASR · Fiction · Comedy · #1910617
A story about a man I encountered on a plane.
I had just left my boyfriend, Josh, after spending Christmas with him in Toronto, and I was stuck sitting next to a man with a silver beard who reminded me of Santa Claus on the plane. He was spilling out of his seat, and I stifled a giggle as I thought of what horror it would be to fall asleep and wake up lying on his belly "that shakes like a bowlful of jelly." Yep, I was still in the Christmas spirit.

Santa must have sensed that I was thinking about him (he KNOWS if you've been good or bad), and he turned to look at me with a twinkle in his eye. OK, I'm going to have to get over this Santa comparison. Maybe I had too many Christmas spirits.

"Why are you traveling to New York?" I was surprised by Santa's bold question. Still in a playful mood, I thought about telling him that I was a dinosaur smuggler. I decided instead to tell the truth.

"It's where I live. I came to Toronto to visit my boyfriend and spend Christmas with him. Unfortunately, I have to return to work tomorrow." The thought of work slightly dampened my spirits. Santa continued to gaze questioningly at me, so I continued, "I'm Julie, by the way."

Santa continued to stare, saying nothing, until I began to feel uncomfortable. Finally, after what seemed like half an hour, he spoke.

"Would you like some brie?" he asked while reaching into a small sack I hadn't noticed before. I began to wonder if Santa was crazy. After all, I had just introduced myself, and I was expecting him to return the gesture. Instead, he's offering me cheese? Maybe I should have told him about my dinosaur smuggling.

"No, thanks." I couldn't think of anything else to say, so I sat back in my seat and shut my eyes, hoping to put an end to the conversation.

"It's really quite good, the brie. A lot of people don't like it." I opened my eyes to discover that he was looking at me again.

"I ate before I left my boyfriend's house. I'm really not hungry."

Santa shrugged and started to eat. Fascinated, I was now the one staring at him.

"So, why are you going to New York?"

"To get away from my cheating wife." Santa really had my attention now, but he nonchalantly went back to eating his cheese.

"Do you want to talk about it?" I urged him to go on.

"No," he curtly replied, his mouth full of cheese.

Frustrated, I began to pick at invisible lint on the back of the seat in front of me. Several minutes passed, and Santa didn't say another word. I was becoming antsy. Finally, I turned back to him.

"Well, I told you that my name is Julie. What's yours?" I was desperate to get him talking again.

"If you don't mind, I'd like to take a nap now." With that, he laid back in his seat, allowing me even less room in mine, and shut his eyes.

Well, I wasn't going to stand for it. Suddenly brave, I tapped him on the shoulder.

"Wha..." Startled, he glared at me.

"You start a conversation with me, dropped a bombshell on me about your wife cheating, and now you decide to clam up? I'm sorry, but I don't want to spend the rest of this trip wondering about you. Your name, your cheating wife..." I knew that people had begun staring at us due to my elevated voice, but I didn't care. Santa was not going to get off that easily.

"Well, my name is Sam..." he started. I smiled inwardly. Sure does sound a lot like Santa...

"...and my wife cheated on me, because she fell under the spell of a much younger man..." He sure had my attention now.

"I didn't even see the signs. I thought she was frequenting the mall so often in the past few months because, well, you know, women like to shop. Turns out she was really going to see a guy in charge of the construction of a new restaurant beside the mall. Romeo's name was Josh..."

Santa continued, but I could no longer hear him. My Josh had been transferred to Toronto a few months ago to oversee a construction project. I had been so pleased when my Josh took me out to the site and then took me shopping in the huge mall beside of the restaurant. My Josh...

Fighting back tears, I sunk back in my seat and prayed for the plane to hurry and land. Unaffected beside of me, Santa found more brie in his sack and resumed eating.
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