“Would you like a pear?”
I jumped in my seat and turned to see a black guy sitting next to me. He wore a business suit and his head was shaved. He was looking at me as he slid a briefcase under the seat in front of him.
“Excuse me?” I said.
“A pear. I brought three from home, but I could only eat two of them, so now I’m stuck carrying this one around. Would you like it? I’m sick of pears.”
He had a brown paper bag in his lap. He picked it up and held it out to me. I took it, hesitatingly. I’d never actually tried a pear, but I guess today was a day for firsts.
“Does this happen often?” I asked. “Strangers handing strangers food on a plane?”
The man laughed.
“You know, In all my flying experiences, no stranger has ever offered me anything except the bag of pretzels or peanuts that the airline gives us.” he said. “So I guess not, no.”
“How many times have you flown?” I asked.
He paused and looked up at the personal reading lights and flight attendant buttons above our heads.
“I’ve lost count,” he said. “Let’s just say that I’ve flown about three to four times a month for the past eight years. You do the math.”
I mentally calculated about four hundred flights, and then took a second to appreciate the number. “This is my first time flying,” I answered.
“Well then, In that case,” He held his hand toward me, “I am honored to accompany you on your first journey through the air. My name is Dave.”
I returned his handshake. “I’m Michelle. Nice to meet you, Dave,” I said. We exchanged a smile, and then I turned to look out at the morning dew that was sliding down the small oval window. I was sitting near the back of the plane, so I could see workers loading the plane with luggage.
“So, Ms. Michelle, what brings you out here on this fine May morning to experience the magic of flight?” said Dave.
I continued to look out the window at the little worker bees. “I am going to see my son,” I answered. “He is getting married.”
“Well a mighty congratulations to you. I’d say that was a worthy occasion to break in your flying legs. It’s not like a rocking boat, per say, but it does take some getting used to,” He chuckled at his small joke.
I nodded and looked down at the brown paper bag in my lap. Yes, I thought. Today was a day for firsts.