“Laos. I was born in Laos,” said Phil for what seemed the millionth time in his life. “But I’m American.”
“Yeah? How’d you manage that?” asked the man in the window seat, the seat Phil had paid twenty five extra dollars to reserve.
He had filed onto the plane with the crowd of passengers to find this man asleep in the window seat, noise-canceling headphones and silk eye shade blocking out the world. Phil almost tapped his arm to wake him up, alert him to his mistake. But seeing the man sleeping there, the waxy look to his skin, the grime on his collar and cuffs, Phil felt sorry for him. What did it matter? So he sat in the aisle instead.
This lasted all of five minutes–the lady who belonged in the aisle seat thumped her boarding pass with a lacquered nail and glared wordlessly until he moved to the uncomfortable center.
Upon takeoff, the man in Phil’s seat woke up, pulled off his eyeshade and headphones and immediately asked Phil if he was Chinese.
Phil hated flying home for a thousand reasons. Now he had a thousand and one.
Sunday Photo Fiction