Monday, September 23, 2013


He hated midnight flights. On top of that, this was going to be a 16 hour long flight, straight to the other end of the world. Courtesy lost sleep and timezones, he would be miserable for days. He had been having nightmares about the journey. As they announced the call for boarding, he dragged himself towards the gate to be greeted by a mocking 'Enjoy your flight, sir.'. As if they knew.

He boarded the craft and walked towards his assigned seat. He had the middle one, the other two seats were unoccupied.

She made her way through the aisle, stopping near him. She struggled to put her luggage into the overhead bin. He tried to get up and help, but by then she had already managed it on her own. She pointed towards her window seat next to him, followed by a 2-minute awkward choreography of letting her get to her seat. As they took their seats, he turned to her and gave a well-do-we-have-any-other-choice smile, which she tried to acknowledge but pretty much ended up ignoring him. 'Alright, so be it.'

The safety announcements designed for 5-year-olds began. The craft taxied, sped along the runway, and took off. Entertainment was switched on, wine and dinner started being served, the air eased. He turned towards her to make a conversation. She was going to be next to him throughout the ordeal, so he might atleast make it not awkward.

'Do you fly along this route often?'

It seemed to him as if she made too much effort to return a casual smile. 'Doesn't seem interested in a conversation', he thought. Fine.

The trolley stopped beside them. He asked for white wine to go along with the peanuts. She took red. He put on his headphones and turned his entertainment on. His pick was 'Wall·E'. She looked outside the window while they sipped their wine. 'Why do they make these peanut packets so difficult to open?!', he thought getting annoyed. Everytime! As he managed to open his after much struggle, he saw her beside him struggling too. He popped a peanut in, sipped his wine, and continued to watch his movie. After looking at her struggle some more, he took his headphones off.

'May I help you with that?'
She smiled sheepishly.
'There you go.'

Food was served soon. More wine was poured. As she started with the appetizers, she began...

'I love this movie.'
'Yes, it's an amazing movie! This is probably for the hundredth time that I am watching this.'
'Haha, really? I don't think I love it that much. Which is your favorite scene from the movie?'
'Dancing, surely. It's amazingly done.'
'Yes. For me it would be the last scene though. I swear I must have cried during that scene.'
'Haha. Well, for what it's worth, I didn't like how they ended the movie. Wall·E shouldn't have gotten his memory back. Sad endings are more real.'
'So, what are you? Clinically insane, or a sadistic psychopath?'
'Haha, c'mon! Firstly, neither. Secondly, I have a theory about movie endings...'
'...which is?'
'Most movies actually end about two or three scenes before they end the movie.'
'See, for me this movie ends when we learn that Wall·E lost his memory. Everything after that is mostly appeasing the audience. This happens in so many movies!'
'Ah... I see. So you are a sadistic psychopath. Do you do it professionally or just as a hobby, being a psychopath?'
'It's a hobby.'
'I don't need to raise any alarms then. Yet.'
'Not at all! And if you needed to, you wouldn't have gotten the chance. I am that good.'
'Haha. Hey listen, I am sorry about earlier.'
'The peanuts?'
'No, before that. It wasn't nice of me.'
'I know. And the company of sadistic psychopaths doesn't help too much, does it?'
'Cut me some slack, will you?!'
'I will, if you stop taking it all too seriously.'

Both smiled. Paused. 'So...', they both began together. 'Please go on', he said.

'So...why do you hate flying so much?'
'How did you know that?!'
'It's hard not to know when it is written all over you.'
'16 hours in a metal tube being hurled across the sky, huddled like cattle and you can hardly sleep, with nowhere else to go. What is there to love about it?'
'How about the fact that you are going the reach the other end of the planet in less than a day, all the while dining, sipping wine, watching your favorite movie? And you're flying! Just look outside!' The moon followed them, the stars twinkled, and the clouds glistened.
'Haha, yes of course. Maybe travelling frequently makes you grumpy. Or maybe, the reason of the travel affects how you feel about the travel. You are right, I have no reason to complain. Do you travel a lot?'
'I do. I love travelling! More like, I like the journey as much, if not more, than the destination. Travelling gives you a lot of time to introspect. Sometimes you meet interesting people along the way.'
'I'll take it that you mean me (too) when you say that.'
'...and you had to ruin it. Bravo, monsieur!'
'Haha. Alright, dinner's done. I'll see if I can sleep for a while.'
'Yes, the time-zone monster awaits us too.'

He finished the movie, and slept. Several hours passed before they woke up. He began...

'You know, I haven't slept with a girl before.'
'Wow, you did NOT just say that!'
'I did.'
'And it was a horrible pun.'
'I know.'
They both laughed. Paused.

'Do you love someone?', she asked.
'That is a little too personal, don't you think?'
'You did not think about that before sleeping with me?! And your reply makes me sure you don't.'
'I am not really sure what that means. Love. Everyone else seems to know.'
'Well, maybe you need to fall in love once to understand it.'
'...and that's exactly what everyone says! It's so pissing off! Do you? Love someone?'
'So it isn't personal if you ask?! Well, it's complicated. I don't think I would be able to explain.'

'Okay. Tell me, then, what do you think love is? Is there a definition? What is your definition of love?'
'Love is bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. To love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.' [link]

'It's like the way you feel about travelling.'
'That the journey is as much, if not more, important as the destination.'
'If you put it that way, yes.'

'That's what I feel about "Life".'
'As in?'
'As in, it's like a journey. People's paths cross with each other, and they become experiences for one another. I met you here, and I will remember this. But I don't know if we will ever meet again. In life we meet people who walk one-way with us. It's who comes back with you that counts. I think maybe that's love.'
'Then the movie doesn't really end there for you.'
'Two scenes before Wall·E ends, it doesn't end there for you. Wall·E comes back in the end, doesn't he?'
'I never thought about it like that before.'

He exited towards the terminal. It had been a long journey, but he felt surprisingly fresh. As he walked, suddenly, the airport was filled with piercing white light coming from a single source. He shut his eyes and almost knelt. The light began to fade, and when he could see again, he saw that he was alone there, and the airport deserted. He began to move hurriedly towards the exit, the place looked liked it had been ransacked. He came out from the exit, she stood in front of him. She was the only one there besides him. He didn't know what to do. She walked towards him, smiled, and gently said, 'Let's go back.'


  1. Goosebumps! Profound and very well written!

  2. salutes.. this could be a movie called "before landing".. followed by "before takeoff" and "before checking" :)

  3. I have to say this again (and I am sure I will repeat it in future as well): "Have you ever considered writing professionally?"

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