I turned in my short fiction assignment today. Here’s the first part of it. Comments, reactions, questions, and criticism are welcome (I have one more chance to turn in a revision, and it’s always good to keep revising, right?) I’ll put up the rest in the next couple days. Hope you enjoy it!
A gust of hot, sweaty wind enveloped Catherine Richards in the moment between the long corridor and the door of the airplane. She stepped into the cool, compact interior of the plane, escaping loud Texas into the dry, muted atmosphere. A flight attendant with a glued-on smile welcomed Catherine onto her flight.
Catherine breathed a deep sigh, staring down the narrow aisle. Her knuckles whitened on the handle of her bulging carry-on, and the light wrinkles on her face deepened. After a moment, she started her pilgrimage through the crowded seats, past the cushy first-class armchairs and toward the back of the plane.
A voice shrieked, “Katie!”
Catherine stopped abruptly, swaying with the weight of her duffel bag, staring up at the glitzy, pink-lipstick woman leaning toward her from a seat several rows away. “Lucy?”
“My goodness, Katie Brown!”
She still talked in that high-pitched, metallic Southern drawl. The curly blonde head, now puffed up even higher than in high school, leaned far over the seat in front of her, pressing her bulging chest over the top of the seat and drawing glances from the men across the aisle. “Sit by me!” she yelled.
Catherine glanced at her ticket. “Sorry, I have a different seat,” she said gruffly, taking the last two rapid steps to her row and opening the overhead compartment to stuff her duffel bag inside.
Lucy swung a pink purse over her shoulder and hurried up the aisle. She slid into the seat next to Catherine. “My goodness, it is just so good to see you, Katie! What a surprise!”
“I go by Catherine now, Lucy.”
A balding man standing in the aisle waved for Lucy’s attention. “Excuse me, ma’am? You’re in my seat.” He pointed to the number on his boarding pass.
“Oh, you’re in sixty-one-A now,” Lucy said, waving him off. She turned her back to him. “Is he with you?”
“Is who with me?”
“Bill, of course!”
“Oh. No, he isn’t.”
“My goodness! I haven’t seen him in ages! How funny would it be to see him again!”
“Ma’am, this is my seat!” the balding man protested.
“Lucy, why don’t you give him his seat?” Catherine said.
“Oh, he’s fine.” Lucy said over her shoulder, “I said sixty-one-A.”
The man huffed and walked away.
Lucy turned back to Catherine. “I got married too, you know, right after graduation. To Kent! Kent Whittaker! Isn’t that crazy?”
“Yes, I remember.”
“Goodness! We have so much catching up to do! How old must you be now, like fifty?”
Catherine raised an eyebrow, looking at Lucy straight-on for the first time. “I’m forty-three, the same as you. We graduated high school at the same time, remember?”
A blush appeared faintly through Lucy’s thick makeup. “Goodness, are we that old already?” She barked out a laugh. “Time flies when you’re having fun, right?”