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The Last Flight

By Mary HaynesPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Photo by Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa on Unsplash

Maggi carefully made her way down the aisle. She held her rolling briefcase tightly in front of her with both arms, carefully avoiding bumping passengers on either side.

A woman jumped up and opened an overhead head door, hitting her in the head. She mumbled “Sorry, I didn’t see you there, I forgot my book in my carry-on.”

Maggi nodded, she could feel a welt beginning on her forehead. She thought, ‘of course you didn’t see me, no one does.’

By Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

She arrived at her aisle seat, two rows from the back and attempted to put her soft sided briefcase in the full overhead compartment. A flight attendant offered to put it up front, but Maggi objected and stuffed it under the seat in front of her.

After settling in her seat, she opened her book, “Guidebook for Invisible Women,” by Libby Bergstein. Engrossed in the first chapter, she didn’t see the man standing in the aisle beside her until the flight attendant tapped her on the shoulder.

“Excuse me, could you let this man get to his seat? We need to clear the aisle for takeoff.” The flight attendant sounded frustrated.

“Of course, I’m so sorry, I didn’t notice you standing there.” Maggi scrambled to her feet to let him pass.

“It’s okay. I’m sorry to trouble you.” The man sat down quickly and scrunched as close to the window as he could.

The plane took off smoothly. The flight attendants rolled the beverage cart up the aisle. Maggi quietly read her book, although the man was still jammed up against the window, she noticed he was peeking at her book.

By Habib Guna on Unsplash

As the beverage cart approached, Maggi noticed the man squirming in his seat and grimacing. She put her book down and asked the man if he was okay.

“I’m so sorry, I need to use the restroom. I hate to bother you and the flight attendants. My timing is terrible, as usual.” The man was visibly sweating.

Maggi jumped up and moved into the aisle. The man quickly squeezed past her, brushing up against her shoulder as he passed. Surprising herself, Maggie asked the man if he wanted anything from the bar cart.

As he hurried to the restroom, he replied “Yes, desperately. I’d like two of those tiny bottles of scotch and a glass of ice, but I’ll miss my turn.”

The flight attendant rolled the cart beside Maggi. She pulled her credit card from her pocket and asked for three sparkling wines and three Dewars and an extra glass of ice. The flight attendant hesitated but agreed to the purchase. She added four bags of free pretzels.

By Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Maggi carefully placed the drinks and snacks on the middle seat and picked up her book again while she waited for the man to return.

He stood in the aisle looking at his seat until the flight attendant tapped Maggi on the shoulder again, “Ma’am, would you please move and let this man sit down!”

Maggi’s faced flushed, “Of course, I’m so sorry.”

As the man hastily sat down, she asked him, “Why didn’t you ask me to move?”

“Because I felt bad disturbing you while you were reading.” He looked like he was close to tears as he squished his face close to the window.

Maggi was stunned, she wasn’t used to communicating on a personal level. Her job in IT didn’t require her to meet with many people. Unexpectedly, she reached over, flipped the latch on his tray table and lowered it. She then put the three scotch bottles, a glass and the cup of ice on it.

The man’s eyes looked slightly terrified. He stuttered, “You shouldn’t have! I don’t have any cash with me, I can’t pay you back. Wait, can I e-transfer you the funds? Oh, what was I thinking, of course not, you don’t want me to have your email address.”

Maggie couldn’t help it, she laughed. She stopped abruptly when she saw tears trickling down the man’s face! She picked up a napkin and handed it to him.

She waited until he wiped his eyes and loudly blew his nose.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh. I’m not used to being around people. I was trying to be thoughtful and buy you drinks because you seemed stressed. But of course, I messed it up.”

The man took a deep breath and said, “That’s the nicest thing anyone has done for me in a long time.” He opened one of the little bottles and poured it over some ice. “Cheers!”

By John Luke Laube on Unsplash

Maggie waited until the bubbles settled in her sparkling wine then she clinked glasses with the man.

They quietly sipped their drinks, then they awkwardly tried to introduce themselves at the same time. They both laughed.

Maggie said, “Adam, you’ve made me laugh twice today, I can’t remember the last time I laughed.”

“Well, Maggi, you’re one up on me, but I’ll forgive you for the first one. Wow, I don’t usually show my feelings, you’ve had me emoting all flight. I can’t decide if that’s good or bad.”

Maggie thought before she responded. “I hope its a good thing. I haven’t had a conversation as long as this for years. It’s strange. I bought this ticket with no real plan to return. I just wanted to get on a flight to get out of my life.”

Adam, looked at her, he reached in his pocket and took out a bottle of prescription sedatives. He said, “This was going to be my last flight.”

Maggi pulled a similar bottle out of her briefcase. They stared at the bottles. Then Maggie undid her seatbelt and took both bottles. She waited until the restroom was free and flushed both bottles.

By Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash

When she got back, she opened another small bottle of sparkling wine, Adam poured another scotch. They tapped glasses.

After expelling a huge puff of air that felt like it was stuck for years, Adam looked at Maggie. “Okay. You owe me a laugh, tell me a joke!”

Maggie froze, a joke? Did she know one? An uncomfortable silence filled the space between them. Then she remembered one her therapist told her. She took a sip of her wine and felt the bubbles tickling her tongue.

“Okay, you asked for it. A lady walks in to her psychiatrist's office with a duck on a leash...

The doctor takes a look and says, "How can I help you, ma'am?"

"Thank you, doctor. But, it's not me, it's my husband. He thinks he's a duck."

Adam laughed so loudly, it rang through the plane. The flight attendant approached and asked him if he was okay.

He was still chuckling when he answered, “Yes, I am most definitely okay!”

Maggie raised her glass, and smiled. Her inner self finally believed her mantra. I am useful. I finally feel seen!

By Alysha Rosly on Unsplash

Short Story

About the Creator

Mary Haynes

Mary Haynes splits her time between a romantic old sailboat in tropical waters and a beach home in Ontario. A wanderer, by fate, she embraces wherever she roams! Mary recently completed her first children’s book, “Who Ate My Peppers?”

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (3)

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  • Testabout a year ago

    Oh, Mary, this is fantastic! It moved me so much 💕🙂

  • Mike Saundersabout a year ago

    Love this story.

  • Dana Stewartabout a year ago

    Great story, Mary! They found each other in the nick of time. Good take on the challenge prompt, too.

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