“Now boarding: Gate 13 to New York City.”
It was an early Tuesday morning and people were gathering themselves towards the gate. After the gate attendant scanned my confirmation ticket, I made my way onto the plane and found my seat.
I wasn’t ecstatic at all about having to come all the way to New York City just for a meeting, but it was an important meeting for my company that certain employees had to attend. I’d identify myself as more of an “indoors person”, as I don’t like leaving my house that much except if it’s to go to work or buy food. It’s frankly because I get easily scared of a lot silly things. I see something unusual, I overthink it, and I panic. So I’d rather just stay inside my house, where everything’s just the way it’s supposed to be. That’s why I’m not too happy about having to make this trip, but if it meant a possible promotion, I was determined to go.
A few minutes passed and the seats on the plane started to quickly fill. The seat next to mine was still empty and that was pretty relieving as I’m a very spacious person. I was on a small United plane with 2 pairs of seats on both sides of the aisle. My dream soon faded as a tall man began to settle down next to me. He was a tall, white man with dark hair, brown eyes, and a tattoo on his neck. He was wearing a messy white shirt and a pair of blue jeans.
“Hello,” said the man as he sat down.
After I saw his face, I couldn’t quite tell who he reminded me of. I knew I’d seen him before somewhere. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
The plane was now filled and the flight attendants had made their way to their seats for departure. The pilot greeted us over the plane’s speaker and wished us a calm and safe flight. I looked over at the man sitting next to me and his hands were crossed on his lap. He was sitting unusually upright and was staring right at the back of the seat in front of him. It was already very sketchy.
Why is he so tense?
That’s when I realized. He looked just like the wanted man I saw on the news last night. It was just last night that I was watching the local news when the breaking news story came up of a runaway man that had just murdered his family. They said he was hiding somewhere and was most likely trying to leave the Boston area. He looked so similar to the man sitting next to me. They described him as a tall caucasian man with dark hair, brown eyes, and a tattoo on his neck.
“There was just no way. No possible way this murderer was sitting next to me,” I told myself.
The plane was now on the main landing strip and I could feel it slowly begin to accelerate. The man suddenly begin to mutter something under his breath. His eyes were closed and his fingers began to fidget.
Oh no. What is he doing? Is he okay? You’ve got to be kidding.
I was now starting to shake softly.
What the hell is wrong with this man? There was just no fucking way.
We were now in the air and the man’s muttering became louder. His legs were beginning to shake too. His eyes were closed and his position didn’t change from the moment he sat down. I began to feel the droplets of sweat run down my forehead. I was now shaking just like he was, overthinking that he was about to take me and the rest of the plane down.
I finally felt a tear roll down my cheek as I was overwhelmed by fear and my unfortunate thoughts. I could feel myself shaking and on the verge of completely yelling and bursting into tears. The man sensed my distress and faced my way.
“Hey. I’m really sorry. Are you afraid of flights too? This is my first time flying and I am just as nervous as you are.”
A wave of comfort flooded through my body as I heard the only thing that could stop my panic attack.
“Uh, yes. Yes. I’m not much of uh-flyer. Ha! I’m so sorry.”
“No worries. I have a stupid conference in New York for my job that I have to go to. Otherwise I’d be right in my bed. Haha. I’m more of an indoor person.”
“Me too! You work at the Netgear branch outside of Boston?”
“Yep. A colleague of mine were picked to come down to NYC. Pain in the ass if you ask me. Flying freaks me the fuck out.”
“Same here. We’ll both be just fine.”
The man smiled and turned back to his normal position, this time with his eyes open and his hands on the arm rests. We were finally both relaxed, as we felt comfortable in each other’s presence because we realized we weren’t alone.