Brig jerked awake and instinctively threw his hands to his ears to protect them from the overly loud announcement from the flight attendant blaring over the airplane’s speaker. “Good morning once again passengers. We will soon land in San Francisco where it’s a cool 57 degrees. As we prepare to land, we ask that you return to your seat, buckle your safety belt and return your tray table and chairs to their full, upright position. We hope you have a great day and hope to see you again soon on United.”
“Why always so loud?” Brig asked under his breath as he sat up and rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands.
He glanced over at his neighbor, who looked as though he hadn’t moved the entire flight. His white shirt still looked freshly pressed and his hat was placed lovingly on his lap, just so. Brig saw that he was wearing a bolo. A bolo for God’s sake. In his semi-conscious state, Brig’s eyes accidentally met the other man’s.
“Going home?” the man asked Brig, who was still groggy from his nap and the drugs.
“Are you on your way home…to San Francisco? Visiting friends, or just passing through town?”
“Um…no.” hoping his brief answer ended the conversation.
“No? No what? No home? No visiting friends?” the big man smiled and persisted. He was trying to be friendly, oblivious to Brig’s growing agitation.
“Getting out,” Brig pronounced the word “out,” emphatically… o-u-tah!
“Getting out of…” Tex was starting to pick up on the negative vibe and finished his question tentatively “…Utah?”
“Just out man. Just out.” His aggression began boiling over. “…and why are you so interested? Are you writing an article for ‘Dumb Ass’ magazine?”
“Well, excuse me for asking…”
“No. Excuse me,” Brig retorted, not letting the man finish his sentence. “I’ve given you every sign, used all of my body language skills, to communicate to you, without being rude, that I have no interest in speaking with you. None! Look. We’ve had a good flight. I got some sleep. You protected your hat.”
Now it was the cowboy’s turn to be confused, “What?”
Brig observed that their conversation had attracted the attention of a few of the other passengers. He raised his voice so that they could hear better, “It’s not you, it’s me. We had a good time together, but it’s over.” As if choking back tears, Brig continued. “It’s over! Do you hear? We’re done! I need to move on.” Another dramatic pause. “If you love me…if you’ve ever loved me…” pause. “Never speak to me again.” Brig turned to his window and dabbed at his eyes with the back of his hand.
The man looked around, embarrassed, well aware of the implication. “You’re crazy,” he said to Brig. “He’s crazy,” he said to the other passengers who were pretending not to have noticed.
Brig smiled at his blurred reflection in the hard plastic window.