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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Australia or New Zealand (01/15/09)

TITLE: My Aussie Mate
By Glynis Becker


I attempted to glide down the narrow aisle. Head up, shoulders back, one foot in front of the other. Not so difficult. I say ‘attempted’ because it would have been perfect, a tribute to every runway model I’d ever seen, had it not been for that pocket of turbulence we hit while I was next to row 3. The gentleman in the aisle seat had the decency to not yell when my sashaying hip met his bent elbow connected to the hand holding a cocktail. The bloody mary spilled down the front of his shirt while my foot kicked the lady in the opposite aisle seat squarely in the shin.

It’s difficult to apologize to so many people at once. I wasn’t even exactly sure what the social protocol for that situation was. Do you defer to the elderly man with the tomato stain on a white Oxford shirt or the young woman rubbing her bruised leg and muttering to herself? I made an apology to both of them, then slunk sheepishly back to my seat.

I had to stifle a giggle when I looked at Ethan sitting next to my empty seat in row 6 holding his hands over his face and shaking his head. “Can’t I take you anywhere?” He grinned and stood up so I could slide in next to him.

“No, I guess not,” I laughed. But as his hand reached for mine, I suddenly got serious, which generally causes me to ramble. The words just started spilling out. “She’s going to think I’m a klutz, isn’t she? She’s going to think, ‘How could my son have chosen such an awkward American klutz? I mean, I already know that, but I don't want her to know that I think that...” I bit my lip.

Ethan put his hand under my chin and stated emphatically, “Shush, darling. Mum is going to love you. She’s going to take one look at you and say, ‘Now ain’t she a beaut?’” He always exaggerates that lovely accent with a Crocodile Hunter voice whenever he’s trying to make me smile. What a sucker I am for that accent. It always works.

I smiled back. “But what if I’m too ‘American’? I mean, does she think we’re all John Wayne and Dirty Harry? Or even worse, maybe she thinks we’re all Madonna and Paris Hilton!”

“I knew I never should have told you that my mum loves American films.” He sighed. “ What can I say to make you less nervous? ”

“Nothing.” I freed the hand he was holding and started chewing on the end of my index finger. He pulled it out of my mouth and set it in my lap.

“Look, love, we’re going to a different continent, not a different planet. I even made Mum promise she wouldn’t feed you kangaroo for at least a week.” He lowered his chin and stared in my eyes to make sure I got that it was a joke. When I didn’t say anything, he continued. “Why do you think I love America so much? Besides being near you, of course. Because it reminds me of home. Open spaces, freedom to roam wherever the wind carries you. Freedom to think and do and act. Australians might still bow to the Queen, but their independent streak is as wide as the Outback. We’ve overcome a lot of prejudice, racial issues and hatred, just like you have. Our histories may be far different, but I think the futures lay along the same path, God willing.” He picked up my left hand and turned my diamond ring—his diamond ring—around my finger. “Just like ours.”

Well, now how was I supposed to continue feeling nervous if he was going to be all sweet like that? He just ruined a perfectly good anxiety attack. Which was probably for the best, since I was sure that in my former level of panic, the next time I got up to use the restroom, I’d end up sitting in the lap of Mr. Seat 3C with his toupee in my hand.

Instead, with a calming breath and my Aussie “mate” by my side, I prayed that my foreign adventure would end with a fairy-tale wedding. They do have ‘happy ever after’ down here, don’t they?

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This article has been read 739 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sonya Leigh01/22/09
I just loved this funny, cute story. Good job.
Esther Gellert01/23/09
What a lovely story. Well written and very enjoyable. I just wish more of our Aussie men were as nice as Ethan seems to be. :-)
Karlene Jacobsen01/23/09
Awwwwwe... what a sweet guy...
This was fun to read. Your characters were authentic.
Chely Roach01/25/09
Awww, this was so sweet. I loved the line, " He just ruined a perfectly good anxiety attack." Tee hee. Well done!
Jan Ackerson 01/26/09
Very sweet and entertaining. Loved the description of the incident on the plane.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge01/27/09
As already stated...the characters sound and act real, the kind of people you'd like to know. Well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/27/09
This was a treat to read!
Joy Faire Stewart01/28/09
Believable, adorable characters and I loved the humor.
Catrina Bradley 01/28/09
Wonderful characterization, great story telling. And ah, yes, that accent. :)
Joshua Janoski01/29/09
I love your humor, Glynis. It shines in this piece. The voice of your MC is wonderful. I love the part about the apologizing protocol. This is one of my favorites that I have read this week!
Benjamin Graber01/29/09
This story is both fun and sweet, and I greatly enjoyed it...