It turns out that your neighbor on the Plane (or the person sitting at the table next to you is a chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?
Shortly after my graduation, I flew to Florida to visit a friend. I boarded the plane and found my seat it was on the right hand side of the back of the plane. I was one seat away from sitting next to the isle. There was a space between me and a short, slender, Korean lady. She had her face and body pressed towards the window as far as she could go. She gave me a glance and then smashed herself back into the window. I sat down and got situated with my music gear preparing for take off. I noticed after I stopped shuffling around. My neighbor, was sniffling and quivering. Was she crying I thought to myself? All I could see was her long, shiny, healthy, black, hair. I figured I better put my headset on and mind my own business. (not typically my style).
After we got up in the air she peeled herself off the seat and told me she had to use the restroom. She had a few Kleenex in her hand waded up when she came back. I could see her watery eyes, her red nose, and another surprise growing in her tummy. I figured this was a sad situation, after about an hour of still hearing her sniffling, catching her breath and quivering. I decided to approach her. I knew it was the right thing to do. If she turned me down I could live with it and have no regrets.
Me: Are you going to be okay
Her: No not for a while
Me: If you would like to talk about it, we can?
Her parents sent her off to college. I can’t recall which one, this has been years ago. I want to say somewhere in Washington D.C They had deposited a check into an account for her to help get by while she was going to school. The amount was insane TO ME. I take they were well off. She then started crying, telling me most of the money was gone. She had met some friends at college and they decided to boycott school and take a few trips. She told me during this time she met someone who was married and basically dated him until she got pregnant then things started going down hill. He disappeared and quit answering her calls, he even changed his number and left the job he had. She was telling me all this and scratching herself all over her body. She said the pregnancy was stretching out her skin and making her itch, she wasn’t able to keep any food down, her clothes were getting to small and she wasn’t happy. She hadn’t told her parents about the money or the baby. She said the only people who knew was herself, the boyfriend and me. She told me she left town after people started asking her if she was pregnant. She sobbed and sobbed as she poured herself out to me. She was looking for someone somewhere to perform an abortion. She said only certain States perform them after a certain amount of months. She was five months, twenty weeks and torn about the decision. She said she could feel the baby moving around inside her and it was basically pulling at her heart-strings. The conversation went around in a circle for most of the flight. I never said much to her because I felt like I was there to listen. I stayed as monotone as I am in this post. When the plane landed she grabbed me and gave me a hug. I hugged her tighter and told her she would be in my thoughts, and she has been for almost twenty years.