Cool air blows onto the top of his head as the Tie Man sits and watches the other passengers file onto the aircraft. He sips at the remains of his coffee. It’s tepid, but he imagines the caffeine making it’s way through his system and he takes another sip. Four-thirty in the morning was far too early for him to have woken up on this fine morning and he needs the boost badly.
The airbus, they call it. Makes sense, he thinks. It seems bus-like.
Business people waddle awkwardly down the aisle with small computer bags ad briefcases. A man struggles to maintain control over a large carry on. A couple glances to the left and right reading seat numbers below the overhead compartments as they search for their seats.
A girl – maybe seventeen at best – with a shock of red hair and elfin eyes gracelessly makes her way down the aisle with a large pink bag bouncing off her legs with each step. She glances around and seems to see her seat number.
The Tie Man sees her and notes her simple beauty. Sweet kid, he thinks.
An older woman makes her way past him and he remembers her from the terminal. She’s tall and made up – packed into a white dress and heels. Not practical, he thinks to himself. Seems downright uncomfortable.
His eyes return to the elf girl as she pauses beside him. She’s skinny and frail looking with the standard teen uniform of jeans, t-shirt and “hoodie”. She hefts the large, pink bag into the seat and shimmies out of the aisle and into the seat behind it – waiting.
He looks to his right out to the tarmac.
People make their way past her as they look for their seats. The Tie Man looks over to her again and notes that she is eyeing the overhead compartments.
He adjusts the knot of his tie and glances at the pink bag. Was it to heavy for her to lift into the overhead? He thinks about asking if she needs help, but rethinks it when women’s equality flashes in his brain for a minute. If her were to ask if she needs help, would it imply that she’s to week and powerless to deal with the situation herself? Would he be implying that she isn’t able to deal with the situation because she’s just a woman? Ridiculous, but the thought it there all the same.
Then, a thought enters his head. He thinks of his little, 14 year old girl and wonders if she’d ask for help if she couldn’t lift a bag into the overhead or if she’d merely wait awkwardly until she could ask someone at the last minute.
“This is my seat.” An Asian businessman smiles to the girl and waits patiently for her to move the bag from the seat he wishes to occupy.
The Tie Man looks around and smiles to the redhead, then points to her bag. “Um, did you need a hand getting that up into the thing?” The words spill from his mouth like puffs of smoke – somewhat half hearted and soft.
The redhead smiles uncomfortably. “Um...yeah…thanks.” She looks like she wants to jump out of her skin – uncomfortable and embarrassed.
“Oh…” The Asian businessman smiles an uncomfortable smile as he realizes what’s happened. He moves back a step as the Tie Man stands and takes the bag with his right hand and holds his cup with his left. He looks to the cup, then to the bag, then back again before looking at the redhead.
She takes the cup with a smile, one hand clutching it and the other hand slipping under it like it was a Ming Vase. She lifts it up and over the bag and waits.
The next few steps work like a ballet – a choreographed dance of passengers and bags.
The Tie Man grips the bag handle and moves it into the overhead compartment in one, smooth motion. “There you go.”
“Thanks,” the girl says with a smile as she hands him his cup and runs a hand through her hair.
A few more people file in patiently behind the businessman and wait.
The Tie Man glances at red and nods, then glances to the businessman and smiles. The man smiles back and the Tie Man returns to his seat with a sigh.
The girl takes her seat by the window on the opposite side.
The Asian businessman takes his seat in the aisle and settles in.
More passengers file past and look for their seats.
The Tie Man sips his tepid coffee and looks to his right, staring out onto the flight deck. He smiles a small, private smile. He feels good. Feels like a gentleman. He finishes the last bit of coffee in the cup and steals a glance at the girl in the seat – her feet now shoeless and curled under her in the seat.
The businessman stares at the screen in the headrest of the seat before him, then notices the man in the row before him is an old coworker and strikes up a conversation.
People file onto the plane, one after another. The Tie Man watches them absently. He glances at the faces and the outfits and the bodies and wonders where they are going, who they know, and how long they plan to be away. He finds people fascinating. He likes his world right now and it’s pleasing.
People file onto the plane, one after another.