Among the many attendants, the countless passengers, the scores of hours waiting and flying with them - I only remember a few names of those I traveled with. But among those few there are quite a few memorable moments. So before I forget any more of what I do remember, I am going to share a few here so you can remember with me.
You will like Kara. I was on the aisle in coach when I heard "excuse me...", I looked up and Kara was standing in front of the gate attendant. She was being escorted to her seat (apparently she was flying solo) so I rose to make room. After she was in her seat belt I got myself buckled in and gave her a friendly smile. I had my own daughter about her age (11-12) at home and her book bag stickers, badges and pins made me a little home sick even before the wheels were off the ground. I started reading my book and she was watching me turn the pages. I smiled and asked her if she likes to read. "uh huh - I have my own book" she said as she reached into her book bag. She flashed her book at me saying "I read it once already but I want to do it again - it's my favorite!"… "My name is Kara" she quipped with a smile. I said "I'm Leray".
I turned back to my book while she sat back putting her heals on the edge of the seat - legs folded up to her chin. She spied over her knees into the pages she turned in front of her. It was "the Tale of Despereaux" and she was either the world's faster reader or she was bored with the story because before we hit 30,000 feet the book was closed and a magazine came out. Not long later another magazine appeared. This one had some torn pages that fell to the floor as she flipped though it. "Oops sorry" she whispered reaching for them on the floor. I moved my feet out of her way and she said "thaaannkYOU!" with a high singing sound in her voice. We didn't speak much at all but for some reason Kara sticks with me. I wonder what became of her, especially when I see my daughter, now grown and living her own life.
Another girl (or I should say “young lady“) about my own age sticks with me too. We traded polite hellos as we took our seats in coach. I was tired after a week in a hotel bed and expected to catch a few Zzzzz's on the long flight home. I warned her that if I made even the slightest snore to whack me. The last thing I wanted was to make other people hate the flight and me. Sure enough, not long after take off she rubbed her fingers across my wrist.
"Oh - Sorry!” I said as I snapped awake. "No you're fine... I am so sorry - I just need to use the rest room" she told me.
Whew! I was relieved. I stepped into the aisle to let her pass and I stretched my long legs. When she returned I realized how small she was cuz she easily slipped past me with just my knees turned out without having to stand. Then she surprised me and to this day it still makes me wonder...
"How'd you know my name?" she said when she buckled up. I looked at her and mumbled "uhhh whuh?" She smiled and said "How'd you know my name? You said my name just before you woke up".
"Really?? Are you serious? Did I really?" I tried not to be too befuddled as I sorted out my thoughts.
"Stacy... I'm Stacy and you said Stacy out load in your sleep - that's kinda strange isn't it? or do you know another Stacy?"
The only Stacy I knew dealt blackjack at the Reno Peppermill and she always took at least $100 from me (but I always came back to play at her table when I was in town : )
I asked her "you must have said your name - maybe?"
"Nope, we didn't introduce - what’s your name by the way?" she happily asked.
This Stacy was quickly becoming my favorite. As we struck up conversation the flight attendants came to our row with drinks and the ubiquitous bag of peanuts. I asked for Diet Coke and she said "I'll have the same!". She gave me her peanuts before I even opened mine. "Those are too salty" she said. We talked about our business, she was a communications liaison for a marketing company , I was in IT project management. “You look like an IT guy” she told me. She had a cat named Bags; short for Baggiepants, and she was proud of that cat. Stacy was a toucher. She touched my arm or shoulder to make a point while we talked. I had a fleeting thought that that was a little strange for not knowing me very well. But somehow it just naturally came our of her, especially when she laughed. And I remember her giggly laugh :D
When we deplaned the stewardess said "You guys fly with us again soon!". We looked at each other with raised eyes and laughed again. We weren't a couple but it must have looked that way. We walked together through the airport toward ground transportation and I wondered if I should offer to buy a drink or something. I didn’t want to ruin a good thing so I only said that I had to take the shuttle to long term parking, she said “a fancy car service is waiting for me".
As we hit the sidewalk I told her "Well Stacy, good bye and good luck" and she shot back "Oh Leray! good luck to you too!" and we turned our separate ways.
Now I've met a couple other "stacys" since that flight but I wouldn't be able to name them in a crowd. But you know, all these years later, whenever I travel and traipse through the airport or stand waiting to board, I look up and down the aisles - just in case my favorite Stacy is nearby.
I would like call her name out load just one more time.