Plenty of Room on My Tray

On a flight from Dallas to New York, a woman in a pink sweater with chipped pink polish on her nails sits next to me.

Later, I will learn that she loves solitaire, that’s her husband she’s sitting next to, and they are headed to Budapest for a Danube River cruise. But for now, what I know is that she is wearing a pink sweater and her matching nail polish is chipped.

The flight attendants do their drink service. I get hot tea. Then I start to fumble around, not finding enough space for it, my laptop, and my elbows.

The woman notices. She turns to me, “Here,” she pats her tray table. “Want me to hold that?”

“Thanks,” I hand the tea to her. “Really appreciate it.”

“Sure,” she holds my tea on her tray. “I figure we’re all in this together.”

And the way she says it, gentle and powerful, I know what she’s talking about is wider and more lasting than just this Dallas-to-New York flight. And I know, too, that what she’s talking about I want to be a part of. Actually, I want to be all in on it.

I turn and thank her. Notice her big green eyes, find out where she’s headed, what other cruises she and her husband have done before. The woman is matter-of-fact and kind.

Soon, we deplane. I go towards Brooklyn and she goes towards Budapest. We’re not together anymore. But we’re still in it together. And I walk through the airport feeling cared for, caring, and, most notably, enlarged.

So, give me your hot tea. I’ve got plenty of room on my tray to hold it for you.

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