Part 5 in The Second Life of Brian. Read parts One-Four here.
As the plane started turning down towards land Brian’s heart started racing. He could feel perspiration trickling down the bridge of his nose.
He started fidgeting uncomfortably on the cheap leather seat, feeling like he was sticking to it, afraid to glance at the woman sitting next to him, fearing she wouldn’t appreciate the spectacle he was making of himself.
As a rule Brian avoided drawing any extra attention to himself.
Throwing caution to the wind, Brian decided to sneak a sideways glance at his neighbour. She was the opposite of Brian at that moment, cool and collected. Completely in control. Her long dark hair, perfectly pin straight, her clothing amazingly crease free after the long flight, she smelt like expensive perfume and her eyeliner was smudge free, darkly framing her deep, blue, eyes.
Her blue eyes were trained steadily on Brian, “You don’t look so good, do you want me to buzz an attendant for some water?”
“Uhhh,” this unexpected kindness caught Brian off guard, “yes, thank you.”
“You don’t like flying, right?” She gingerly offered him a sick bag then pressed the call button a few times.
“To be honest this is my first time flying, so this is all new to me.”
“Get out. Your first time? That is so bizarre, how is it that you have never been on a plane before?” To the flight attendant who had arrived,”This is his first time flying – he needs some water please.”
Brian glanced up at the flight attendant just in time to see her roll her eyes as she walked away, this obviously wasn’t her idea of interesting conversation. “Well, I . . .”
The young woman cut him off, “I’ve been flying this route regularly for a year and a half now. Work, you know.” She paused momentarily giving Brian the opportunity to nod along, “It’s exhausting but the company picks up all of my expenses and the money is fabulous so who am I to complain, right? What do you do for a living?”
“I was an accountant, but . . .”
“Oh, so you know all about money then don’t you. Isn’t it difficult these days to find the right life-work balance? I’m constantly questioning myself if I’m doing the right thing working the way I do.” She paused again and when Brian made no attempt to interrupt her, she continued.
Brian kept up a routine of nodding in all the right places, listening to an in depth description of the blue eyed girl’s relationship struggles with her boyfriend of three years, Scott. Brian had just realised that he knew an awful lot about Scott and hadn’t even learned his neighbours name when he noticed the seatbelt light turn off with a “ping”.
He looked about the cabin to see passengers standing up, pulling hand luggage out of overhead compartments and jostling to get a spot in the queue of people lining up to exit the plane.
“But I didn’t even notice the touchdown,” Brian craned his neck to look over the seats in front of him then looked at the woman next to him again. She was now wearing an impish expression, “You had that look about you, as I said, I fly a lot. I know when a distraction is needed.” She winked at him and Brian felt a smile spring to his face.
“I’m Sasha, so” she asked, “what brings you to this side of our fair planet anyway?”
Brian hesitated and was surprised when Sasha waited for a response “I’m looking for a girl.”
Her eyes widened as she stood up and started slinging the straps of her carry on luggage over her shoulders, “Oh I think you ought to tell me more about this girl. Scott’s not picking me up for another hour, do feel like a drink?”
Brian knew he had nowhere else to be, he would call Neil later. He surprised himself with his simple answer, “Lets have a drink.” He extended his hand to shake Sasha’s, “My name’s Brian by the way”.
As they passed through customs and walked to the little bar, that was apparently Sasha’s fovourite, Sasha fired off a round of questions, “What’s her name?”, “When did you see her last”, “Where does she live?”, “What does she do for a living?”, “Is she married?”, “Does she have kids?”
After answering the first two questions Brian realised he really had no idea. He started swishing his drink around in his glass absentmindedly, “I guess I don’t know. Sasha what if Sarah’s married? What if I never even find her? She could’ve moved anywhere by now, I haven’t seen her in twenty years.”
Sasha grabbed at Brians hand to stop him from swishing his drink right out of the glass onto the floor, “Brian look at me,” he did what she asked him to do, suddenly despair was etched into every line of his face, “you are doing something amazing with your life. So what if Sarah is married? She might not be and that is worth acting on.”
Brian stared past her, a new determination illuminating the depths of his eyes, “You’re right, of course, you’re right. Even the chance of friendship with Sarah is worth it. I don’t even know where to start looking for her.”
A broad smile spread across Sasha’s small face, the look of the imp returned, “Well, you could try the Yellow Pages, but I have another plan. I haven’t told you what Scott does for a living yet”.
Sasha winked at him again and Brian felt a shift in the direction of his life.