He’s in 13C. She’s in 13B. He’s moving west to take a job teaching history to seventh graders. She’s heading home from a nursing conference. He’s gangly, earnest, and scared. She has brick-red hair and eyes shaped like daisy petals.
After takeoff she produces two oranges from a monstrous purple handbag and offers him one. He tears off the peel into a hundred tiny pieces. When he looks over she has somehow unzipped her orange and her peel sits on the tray table in a single, mesmerizing spiral.
“How did you—?”
“You’re cute,” she says.
She eats it as if it were an apple: huge bites. Threads of juice spill down her chin. The flight attendant brings napkins. The cabin lights dim. She leans across him to look out the window at stars and he smells cloves, ocean wind, orange blossoms...[Keep Reading]…
Anthony is the author of The Shell Collector: Stories (2011, Scribner).