knowing the attendant probably couldn’t hear him but could read his lips if he made it easy

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Crossky 2264 was the morning’s first departure, and Rawn boarded, stowed his carry-on bags, and took his seat on the second row by the window. The airline’s color scheme on the CRJ 900 was gray and blue, with gold-trimmed lettering. Its logo? The World.

The flight attendant’s announcement had a unique rhyme. Rawn figured the individual’s Spanish might be from Cuba. The cabin load was light this morning; about half of the seats were empty.  Once boarding concluded, the flight crew made their final announcements and closed the aircraft’s main door. The departure routine proceeded unexcitingly, but once at cruising altitude, the cabin crew began the beverage service.

The purser approached and greeted Mr. Mennez. “Welcome, Mr. Mennez, what would you like to drink before your breakfast snack? Would you like soda, juice, beer, or wine, we also have coffee and a full liquor bar.”

Mr. Mennez gave the flight attendant his full attention and slowly spoke out his choice, knowing the attendant probably couldn’t hear him but could read his lips if he made it easy.

“Water with ice, thank you.” Rawn looked at her name tag; it said, Carol.

Carol smiled and nodded, turned, took the order from the customer across the aisle, and walked back to the galley.

Rawn looked out the window, and Carol returned with his choice refreshment and a small ceramic container with assorted nuts. She placed two paper napkins on the tray table: the tumbler with ice and water on one and the bowl of eccentrics on the second. Rawn made eye contact with Carol, smiled, and whispered, “thank you.”

Rawn enjoyed chill music and appreciated the view for the duration of the flight.  He used to take this hop every Wednesday. He would leave on the first schedule of the day and come back on the last one at midnight, just like today. There’d been occasions over the years when the airline canceled the flight last-minute. Rawn would go back to the counter with his carry-on bag and book a ticket on a competitor. An option that though not direct, would get him home with a connection. Rawn didn’t like staying overnight on business trips. If he could, he would leave.

The crew announcement brought him back from the past, “we have begun our initial descent. Flight attendants will be coming down the aisle, collecting all service items in preparation for landing.”

Carol sauntered over and stopped by his seat, collected the dish of achenes and the glass of iced water.

“Mr. Mennez,” Carol said, “we appreciate your business and platinum status. Thank you for flying Crossky.” Pleasantly smiling, she continued saying, “hope to see you again soon.”

Rawn bowed his head and smiled. He watched her walk away and looked out the window for the rest of the flight. The approached to the airport was from the southeast. He followed the city as it slid into view below his window. The CRJ 900 entered the landing pattern and was soon on the ground. It landed early.

The aircraft taxied from the runway to the terminal area, and as they approached, the captain made the announcement: “Ladies and Gentlemen, let me be the first to welcome you. We have arrived ten minutes early, but our gate is currently occupied by another aircraft. The gate agent assured me the flight is departing on time, which means we should have an on-time arrival. Thank you for flying Crossky, and we hope to see you again soon.”

The captain’s broadcast caused a light stir among the passengers and Rawn chuckled, convinced of the veracity the statement his nephew made the last time they heard a similar declaration, “not because we are there, are we there yet.”


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