Where does the good go

Up in the air

He isn’t a very big man. Maybe 5’8, and I certainly have at least 30 lbs on him, but when he slapped her, there was enough power behind it, that we heard it for a long while after.
She didn’t scream though.
The man next to me broke the silence.
“Eh, easy bro.”
“Mind your fucking business.”
I couldn’t see the woman’s face. She stared straight ahead. If I had to guess, she was hoping no one noticed; praying for invisibility.
And if I had to further guess, it wasn’t the first  time.
A steady stream of tears fell down her chin.
The man was incoherently mumbling to himself now.
“Motherfucker,” was the only word I could understand. We were 1300 miles from New York. Ten times that off the ground.
No one alerted any member of the flight crew.
We settled into an uneasy silence.
She leaned her head on his shoulder.
I closed my eyes.

16 Responses to “Up in the air”

  1. Pdov Says:

    That hurt. (But fantastic writing.) Those assholes need to be carted off to jail. Seriously? How disgusting.

  2. Pearatty Says:

    So, wearing too sexy clothing makes you a flight risk and gets you tossed off the plane, but assaulting another passenger, not so much?

    Seriously, agree with Pdov, fantastic writing. How is it you’re not getting paid to write that?

  3. Pearatty Says:

    Ooh, and the “She leaned her head on his shoulder.” that was chilling.

  4. Dawn Summers Says:

    It was pathetic…

  5. Mary Says:

    I’m surprised no one alerted the flight crew. I’d hope they’d have a police officer waiting for the guy when the plane landed. Granted, the woman probably wouldn’t have pressed charges, but hey, you never know – she could have decided now’s the time.

    Most likely the crew would have looked the other way – don’t want the chance of the airline getting sued. Even so, I think I would have said something to one of the flight attendants.

    Anyway, sad situation.

  6. Pearatty Says:

    “Most likely the crew would have looked the other way – don’t want the chance of the airline getting sued. ”

    I think you’re right, Mary, which just points up the bullshit power play that flight attendants pull at other times. If you annoy *them*, they’ll have you arrested, even though it’s clear you’re not a danger to the flight. But if you’re harming another passenger, then they don’t really care, unless you seem to be a terrorist-y type.

  7. dawn Says:

    I think I would have said something to one of the flight attendants.

    Not me. I thought about this, I don’t think I would have even said anything if it were a little kid…

  8. dawn Says:

    But definitely not for an adult.

  9. F-Train Says:

    On my way to work one morning three years ago, walking down E. 2nd Street, a couple spilled out of an apartment building. Although the (large) man didn’t hit the woman, he was shouting at her, grabbing her roughly and otherwise menacing her. I stopped walking, someone else on my side of the street stopped, and a third person the other side of the street did as well. I’m not sure what would have happened next — the obviously distraught woman fled back into the building and the guy stormed off.

    I’d like to think that I would have tried to do something, but what, exactly?

  10. Michele Says:

    First, fantastic writing. Second, I am completely disgusted no one did anything. I’m sure I’m naive about these kinds of things but I like to thing, like F-Train, that I would have done or said something.

  11. Pearatty Says:

    You know, the chick isn’t doing anything. She’s not a child. I would be disgusted myself if no one had done anything and it was a child. But she’s an adult. She leaned her head on his shoulder. She’s got to be aware that other people don’t think it’s ok, that she has legal rights and options. Maybe she feels trapped, but you saying “hey, cut that out dude” or him getting talked to by the flight attendant, aren’t going to make her feel less trapped. Dunno, seems like it would have been futile, if satisfying, to say something to the guy.

    Now, if one were willing to say to her while the guy was in the bathroom: “hey honey, if you need help getting out, here’s my number/call 1-800-799-Safe (National Domestic Violence hotline)”, that might make her feel less trapped.

  12. Michele Says:

    Pearatty makes a really good point. She is an adult. And leaned back on him afterwards. You can’t always protect everyone.

  13. Consi Says:

    Futility is not a reason to stand by.

  14. VinNay Says:

    WTF?!?!?! How could nobody have done anything?!?!?! I would have said something to the guy and if I got a “Mind your business” from him, it would been followed with a fucking beatdown.

    Maybe I have too much vigilante in me. A number of years ago i was driving on the border of a questionable neighborhood and a woman ran out of a house and into the street screaming. She was about a block away. She ran in my direction and was being followed by some guy with a gun.

    Probably stupid, but I pulled my car between them, let her in the passenger side and pulled out and waved a bb gun I had under my seat. He ran away. We called the cops. The cops were simultaneously not please with my vigilantism, but also thankful and gave me their cards in case i ever got into any trouble.

  15. Dawn Summers Says:

    Um. #vinnaycrazy #pleasestayinsideeveryday

  16. » A very small man indeed Says:

    […] A true — and disturbing — story from Dawn Summers. Who knew hell was two and a half miles above the ground? […]

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