Here is part-two of Two Strangers On A Plane. You can find part one here.
Two Strangers On A Plane: Part Two
I was now inched back to the edge of my seat, terrified. How could she blame the two-year-old for not knowing better? This woman was crazy! I really needed to ask for another seat. This woman had a hatred for the name Amber, so conveniently my name.
She turned her unfocused eyes back on me, the hate fading into what looked more like kindness. The warm smile she’d had before returned. “But you seem nice enough. I mean you made it past age two. And you follow directions. You sat down when I told you to. You’re alright.” She patted me on the knee. I jumped at her sudden touch and she laughed. “Relax! Like I said before, I don’t bite.”
I wanted to say something like “You might not, but your words do,” but I decided to keep my mouth shut. I really needed to talk to the stewardess about a seat change, but how can I do that without Simone overhearing me? No doubt she’d be offended. And I really did not want to be on the wrong end of her pit bull personality. But the chance of saying or doing something wrong in the four hours I was stuck sitting beside her was almost certain. I was bound to mess up.
I had no idea how to proceed, and that scared me. To my inexperienced eyes, there was no way out of this. Simone’s voice brought me out of my thoughts.
“Darling, don’t look so scared. I’m not crazy or violent, nor would I do anything to hurt anyone. Now, tell me a little about yourself.” Her hand was still resting on my knee, and I eyed it nervously. I really did not want to tell this mentally unstable person any more about my personal life. Knowing my entire name was enough to track me down, and frankly, that clearly seemed to be a possibility. Any more information would only make her job of finding me that much easier if she so desired.
“Um… There’s not much to tell,” I said, trying vainly to think of something. I just blurted out the first thing that came to my head. “I like to read,” I offered. That was a complete lie. Reading to me was boring. I never read a book in my high school career. I only read passages here and there from the class discussions.
“That’s nice,” she said. I took a deep breath and swallowed the bile rising in my throat. I was not a good liar, and it didn’t help imagining all the things she would do to me if she ever found out I had outright lied to her. “What kind of books do you like to read?” she continued.
I felt like this was a trick question. No matter what I answered, I assumed that I would have to discuss that genre with her. It would be safest to say classics since that’s all I really knew about. Besides, I had some insight from all of the boring class discussions I was forced to take part in. And it might earn me some goodwill points with Simone.
“Classics, like 1984 by George Orwell or All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. Pretty much any book that can be found on a school reading list.” God! Why was I rambling? I really shouldn’t. The more I talked, the more chances I would say something wrong. But then again, the more I talked, the less she could talk. And honestly, I was afraid of what she might say.
“Really? That’s not what I expected you would say. But that’s great! You must be really smart,” she said, giving me a sparkling smile. And I almost let myself relax. Almost. I was still wary of her extreme mood changes. She was looking at me like she was expecting me to say something.
“My favorite is Hamlet, though. I love the tension and the timelessness of his plight,” I said, silently congratulating myself on the use of the word ‘plight’.
Her face scrunched up into a scowl almost instantaneously and I cringed, waiting for the inevitable attack to begin. “You think killing your uncle and being certifiable crazy is timeless? You do know that ‘timeless’ is a synonym of ‘relatable’, right? How on Earth is Hamlet relatable?!”