Kenji snuggled down under his airline-provided blanket, a mask over his nose to keep out the germs and to rehumidify the dry cabin air. What a way to spend Christmas.
He’d tried to impress his American girlfriend by showing up on her doorstep on Christmas Eve, but his “girlfriend” turned out to be a 300-pound trucker with a wife and three kids. Kenji had collapsed in shock, and then the littlest one sneezed on him and spilled some apple juice on him, accidentally. Kenji regretted those hours on the internet, building up a fantasy future full of love and happiness, only to have his heart dashed to pieces and drowned in a toddler’s fluids. So, now, he was back on a plane – expensive first class, because the economy seats had all been full.
He’d be home by New Year’s Day, and have to explain to his mother why he was in debt up to his eyebrows, and still unmarried at the ripe old age of 31. He asked the stewardess for a bottle of wine, but was informed that no alcohol could be served until the plane was in the air and at cruising altitude. Damn.
La Guardia was cold and snowy, and there were tiny icicles hanging from luggage carts and fuel trucks that dashed along the icy tarmac. The only thing worse than going home to Japan in shame was having a delayed flight. He turned away from the tiny window as a leggy blonde sat down beside him. She wore dark sunglasses, but her platinum hair was unmistakable. Babette Lawson, star of stage and screen, was sitting beside him. Great. As if he didn’t have enough social anxiety in this one day to last for a life time, now he had 15 hours in which to make a fool of himself with a famous, gorgeous woman. He grunted and turned toward the window, disdained the dismal weather outside, and slammed the shade shut. Maybe he could pretend to be dead.
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