There’s something strangely magical about traveling alone. Maybe it’s because of the sense of independence I feel. Maybe it’s because of the alone time I enjoy. Or maybe it’s the fact that the experiences I’m gaining are solely mine to cherish until I choose to share them.
I want to tell you about the honest little girl that I sat behind on my flight yesterday. Her name is Andrea.
I settled into my seat and immediately took out my book. No wifi, no cell phone, and no one to interrupt me – it was perfect. All of the sudden a little head appeared in that crack between the seat and the window to say hi. I unhurriedly peeled my eyes off the pages of my book to look up at the kid. Her big eyes and sincere grin directed towards me practically forced me to return the hello. I dropped my head back into my book, but could still feel her stare.
Slightly annoyed, I looked back up at her with an insincere smile. She stared at me for a second and then said,
“My dad died, so we might see him while we’re up here.”
I was so taken aback by her words that I could hardly hide my puzzled expression. She then kindly reached back to open my window-shade so I could look out with her.
“Do you think we’ll see him?” She asked.
“I hope so,” I answered.
She paused for a moment, looked back out the window and said,
“Me too. He might be in that cloud.”
We spent the next few moments looking out of the window. We were looking for her dad. Once I realized what I was doing, I turned my head away and back to my book. In that moment, I had child-like faith. In that moment, I forgot the emotional pain that comes with death. And in that moment, I was invited into this kid’s feeling of hope.
I pulled out my notebook to write down the details of what had just transpired when she interrupted me again to ask me what I was doing. I told her I was writing.
“Can I borrow your pen? She asked.
“…..sure,” I said.
I gave her my pen and tore out a sheet of paper from my notebook. She disappeared into her massive seat, and I waited for her to appear in that crack once again. Her little hand appeared holding the paper, and once I grabbed it, her head popped in to see my reaction. The words on the paper read, “Can we be BFF’s? Please say YES or NO. Circle a awenser.” I sat laughing quietly to myself as she passed back my pen, expecting an answer. I circled yes and handed the note back to her.
The rest of the flight, we chatted about Taylor Swift, dogs, and our homes until her mom told her to leave me alone and stop annoying me.
This little girl’s honesty showed me what it’s like to be hopeful when life is tough. It reminded me how easy it is to make new BFF’s. It encouraged me to start each day full of joy and hope.
I will forever cherish the moments of looking for your dad out of our airplane windows. Andrea, I know your dad would be so proud of you.