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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)

TITLE: Red-eyed prayers
By terri tiffany
08/21/08


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There are reasons why I hate overnight flights. I swore after my last flight from Palm Springs to Atlanta that I’d never take another red-eye as long as I lived. I’d rather eat my mother-in-law’s Jell-O and carrot salad. But we had to get back to Florida from Seattle in time for my husband to return to work so I clicked the purchase button.

At least I had the aisle seat.

I grabbed two blankets and a pillow from the overhead, pulled out my IPOD and settled back.

“I think I’m in there.”

I looked up to discover a woman a few years younger than me. She nodded to the empty seat next to the window. After a bit of shuffling, she fastened her seatbelt. Good, I thought, she looks like a quiet one. I was low on understanding after spending a long weekend away from home.

“Are you from Orlando?”

I recognized a feeble attempt at conversation. If I didn’t fall asleep quickly my legs would start to jump uncontrollably and I’d make several unwanted trips to the bathroom. Besides RLS and a weak bladder, I’d be studying my watch all night so my claustrophobia didn’t flare up. Bonding was the last thing on my mind.

“We are. How about you?”

“I’ve never been. My husband wanted me to buy a truck that we found online from a man who lives there.”

I blinked once. Then twice.

“You never met this person and you’re going to meet him alone?”

“I carry Mace.”

Like Mace was going to protect her from an Internet pervert who preyed on innocent victims wanting to buy a 1991 Chevy Tahoe. I looked at my husband to see if he thought she was as crazy as I did.

He closed his eyes.

“Do you know how dangerous that is?” It was a stupid question, I knew, but I had to ask.

She shrugged and smiled. “My husband talked to him a few times.”

It was all I could do not to scream ‘Do not meet this man! Jump on the next plane and go home and tell your husband he is crazy too!’ but I didn’t. Even though she reminded me of my sweet sister-in-law, it was her business—not mine.

I didn’t sleep for the next five-and-a-half-hours. My legs ached and I had to hold them down so I wouldn’t kick the seat in front of me. I made three trips to the bathroom just to say hello to the attendants. I checked my watch every half hour; but worst of all, I listened to my husband and the lady beside him snore.

When we finally arrived at the baggage claim, I looked around for the woman who was throwing her life away for a used truck. She sat near the exit doors with a suitcase wrapped around her legs and a carry-on clutched on her lap.

“I made contact with him,” she said as she smiled up at me.

Suddenly I understood why I had suffered a red-eye flight once again.

“I’ll pray for you,” I told her and then I made sure I did.


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This article has been read 772 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/28/08
You really described well a situation where patience was needed. I enjoyed the underlying humor and appreciated the message.
Jan Ackerson 08/28/08
Oh, I can SO relate, having RLS myself...what misery on an airplane!

Well-written...maybe just a tad light on topic, and the ending felt a bit detached.

I really liked the voice of your narrator...very authentic and relatable.
Ellen Dodson08/29/08
I like the theme of this piece. We so often forget that prayer is the first thing (not a last resort) that we're to do. I just wish that your MC had prayed with her right there on the plane, rather than keeping the prayer to herself.