On a Connecting Flight from Philadelphia to Frankfurt

I make my home for the next eight hours in seat 22C, separated by an aisle from two French girls with honey woven hair, their words bubbling over the soft cries of a child behind me.
To my right- a blonde, straight-faced younger man. He copies my dinner order on our overnight flight, and I exchange names for time to kill.
Ryan from Indiana, graduate from Nashville, selling engineering equipment on a business trip.
I tell him I am Kara, almost 23, a bird fleeing from the suffocating nest of corporate worlds
And how I will travel.

He said I inspired him to do something spontaneous
But he is not yet ready to canyon jump in Interlaken
Or abandon ship from the security of a 9-5 office,
That 35,000 feet in the air is more than enough risk.
I laugh as we talk of past education, and our families back home
He is 27. No kids or wife, he says.
Conversation is a coffee-carrying flight attendant still meandering
As we touch down in Frankfurt, our throats scratched from conversation.
He jokes that he better be in my book when it is published
And my eyes smile as if to say, “You will.”


Weeks later, I will remember this journal entry and look up Ryan from Indiana
To find two blonde toddlers and a wife plastered in his pictures
And will need to steady myself from the turbulence.
Why did you have to invent a story to a woman you just met, leaving out the woman you wrote it with?
And stash oxygen masks from your children as you suffocate them with your silence?
Why lie at all?
Maybe you needed to feel the desire of fresh attraction,
Or try on a shade of single to cover up what you left behind.
But hiding your wedding ring, in a foreign country, telling your wife you love her when you’re flying white lies fast out of Germany…you make me wish I could think up a plane crash for men like you.

P.S. Here you go, Ryan. I wrote about you.









10 thoughts on “On a Connecting Flight from Philadelphia to Frankfurt

  1. * As a side note, this was from two and a half years ago when I was first beginning my journey overseas. I made friends with “Ryan” on the plane (you sort of have to when you’re together for that long of a flight) and although there was never any deeper intentions or physical attraction on my end as I was building my current relationship back home, it still shocked and sickened me that he went to that depth to cover up his true life.


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