Mine is an eleven-hour flight: I’m sitting between two people, a woman on my left, by the window, and a man on my right, by the corridor.
We’ve hardly spoken to each other: she once asked if I preferred to have the window open or closed, and I spoke to him when I needed to go to the bathroom, apologizing and then thanking him for making room for me.
Still, in this cramped space it’s hard to avoid the feeling that we know each other, at least for a bit.
I know that he’s reading George R. R. Martin’s The Dance With Dragons.
I know that she’s been napping under a blanket for a large part of the time.
He was the only one who had brought food of his own. When one of the in-flight staff asked whether she wanted water or juice to drink, she said no, but she did ask when our food would be served. (In half an hour.)
I know that both of them, when given the choice between a meal with chicken or one with potatoes, went for the chicken. I went for the potatoes.
All three of us chose to have tea rather than coffee.
He’s been up from his seat twice; she hasn’t moved from hers; I’ve been up once.
I think that she’s attractive; I haven’t paid attention to his appearance. I don’t know what they think of mine.
I’m the only one who’s been using a laptop, he’s the only one who’s been reading a physical book. Both of them have watched onboard movies; I haven’t.
She and I happened to think of filling our customs form around the same time, and did so side to side. I haven’t seen him fill his.
All of us end up occasionally touching each other, or stealing space for our elbows: it’s impossible not to. None of us says anything about it, each of us forgiving the violations of our personal space in exchange for having our similar violations forgiven.
As of this writing, it’s only two more hours before we arrive. I’ll enjoy their company for a while yet, and I do feel happy to have them here.