A Different Kind of Therapy

The plane was just getting ready to take off. The ride was bumpy and very uncomfortable, especially for a person’s first fight. That’s me-a newcomer to plane travel. Don’t like planes much. Wish I could have driven, but then again, no one can actually drive across the ocean. I should have rented a boat or went on a cruise or something. Anything would be better than this! The plane is now starting to accelerate and is just starting to make its way down the flight path. I quickly clutch the arms of my chair at my sides. In my haste and panic, I didn’t realize that the man at my left had his steady hand on the arm of the chair as well. I accidentally squeezed his hand tightly. The man quickly moved his hand from my tight grip without saying a word. I glanced over at the man and he looked a little annoyed. “I’m sorry,” I said. Now that is going to make the rest of the flight uncomfortable isn’t it? Great.

The entire plane is shaking and I am now being pushed back against my seat. As I look out the window to my right, I can see all the outside surroundings at a squint, for we were zooming past them. I started to breathe a little heavier than usual, like I was going to throw up. The plane isn’t even in the air yet and I am already panicking? What is the rest of the trip going to be like for me then? I could see the man next to me glance in my direction carelessly. I was surprised when he said, “Thanks for squeezing my hand. Do you usually grab stranger’s hands?” I couldn’t believe he said that, it’s not like I meant to. So I replied calmly:

“I’m sorry, it’s just… this is my first flight and I am a little nervous.”

“It is just a plane ride. People fly everyday. Grow up.”

“Hey, you don’t have to be such a jerk. I said I was sorry.”

“And I heard you, but couldn’t you have watched what you were doing? Don’t you have better control?”

“Does anyone have control over their body in a moment of fear?”

“Yes. I do. I remain cool and collected at all times.”

“Well then I guess you are just superior to everybody then. Human nature is below you.”

“Pretty much. Yes.”

“Well sorry if I don’t bow down to your superiority.”

“It’s okay. We will just wait until the plane lands then.”

“Wow. You’re ridiculous and making a big deal over nothing. You’re not hurt.”

I couldn’t believe this guy. I was so mad, I just wanted to change my seat and get a way from this guy. All I could think about was how rude he was being, and how uncomfortable the rest of the trip was going to be. I was only thinking about our conversation, playing it over and over in my head and if I should have said anything differently. I was just so scared. I was so afraid of being on a plane. I was so nervous about my plane ride. I couldn’t think in that time of fear.

I had my arms crossed against my chest. I didn’t want to sit next to him, let alone have any part of my body graze across any part of his body. It was all I thought about. He didn’t acknowledge me either; he just looked ahead blankly. As if I didn’t even exist.

By now, the plane was getting ready to land at our destination. Good. All I was thinking about was getting away from my unbearable companion. When the plane did finally land, all the passengers from the back were already making their way into the aisle and towards the exit. Jerk-off didn’t budge. Didn’t he want to get away from me as much as I wanted to get away from him? He just sat there and allowed all the other passengers on the plane to leave.

Finally, he rose to his feet and began to remove his bags from the storage compartment. I then got up from my seat to get my carry-ons. Unexpectedly, the man stepped aside so I could safely stand in the aisle and then he handed me my bags. I just stood there and looked at him in shock. I took the bags and he made his way towards the exit.

As he was almost out of the plane, he stopped. He turned around to look at me and he did something that I will never forget: he smiled. Then he said:

“You’re welcome.”

He just stood there for several moments smiling, exposing his teeth. He then turned and walked out of the plane.

It wasn’t until later on that I realized what he had done for me.

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