“How To Restring a Guitar”

There was a red-bearded man on the airplane playing a guitar. His hips were gyrating in the seat which later caused a female passenger to wake up heatedly from a dream. I sat warily in the seat next to him. He eyed me and thanked me for not being fat. At first I felt offended, then relieved. Maybe the yoga and the evening cardio was paying off. Let’s hope the third seat is empty or that they aren’t fat, cause they always are, he said. A lovely Georgian woman accidentally dropped her suitcase on his head. She giggled sheepishly but her apology was never heard. She sat in the seat next to me. She is not fat. The red-bearded man smiled at me knowingly. This flight wouldn’t be uncomfortable. The plane lifts off and a trance overwhelms the woman’s golden face. She prays that the flight will glide peacefully and whisks out two books. One is about physics and the other was written by Frederick Nietzsche. The man nods considerately at her choices and asks if he can play us a song. He takes out his guitar and sings a song that could play in the background of a forbidden and taboo love story. The flight attendant asks him to stop and to put the guitar away. You will disturb the other passengers, she hisses. The man pays for drinks for all of us. We talk of the people we see in mirrors. We talk of the actors we could be, but aren’t.

When the plane lands, all the passengers clap. They are clapping for us.

Melissa Burton

About Melissa Burton