It was that moment in a first conversation in which the two of them, with growing excitement, realized just how much the had in common.
They were seated in the same row, but the center seat was unoccupied, so they were able to stretch their legs and lean into each other as they spoke, their headphones and paperbacks long forgotten. They were at that moment where she noticed of the dimples on the corner of his mouth, and he noticed the slight cleft in her chin. The flight attendant, who recognized such things, had smiled and secretly poured then a generous serving of the complimentary after-meal brandy.
“I can’t believe there’s someone else in the world likes that band and that movie at the same time,” he said. “Up to this point, I just thought that there was a sort of genetic mutation that I had…”
“…and now you know that I’m the other person who has it,” she said.
They laughed, and on impulse, he reached over and held her hand. To his surprise, she pulled it away, and turned toward the window.
“Hey,” he said, “what’s wrong?”
She didn’t look at him as she spoke.
“This is the part where one of us finds out something terrible,” she said.
His eyes widened, and he took a deep breath.
“Oh, not at all,” he said, “nothing could upset me.”
He took her hand again.
“Okay,” she said. “Throughout my life, every plane and train I’ve been in has crashed, and I’ve been the only survivor.”
She paused, the words catching in her throat.
Before she could finish, he interrupted.
“And every time it happens, everyone forgets that it happened, so no one knows that you keep surviving one crash after another,” he said.
She looked at him incredulously.
“You don’t mean to say that…”
He nodded, smiling.
“Yet another thing we have in common,” he said.
Just then, there was a shuddering bang as a Cessna airplane sheared off the airliner’s right wing. Immedately, the plane started spiraling down to a chorus of screams and useless prayers.
He held her hand tighter.
“It’s okay,” he said, “everything’s going to be all right.”
She turned to him and laughed.
“I know,” she said, “I know.”