Although he hadn’t thought to select a seat ahead of boarding, Manny Marrano was happy with his window seat on the port side of the Boeing 767. Row 35 had only two seats. They were marked F and G and were located about three rows behind the wing so you would be able to see both ahead and behind. Since after takeoff they would be cruising along at around 35,000 feet and going the opposite direction than the sun it probably wouldn’t make a whole lot of difference. Besides with a ten and a half hour trip to look forward to, looking out the window might not be a priority.
When she stretched to put her carry on in the overhead compartment above seats F and G in row 35, Manny couldn’t help to take notice. Smartly dressed in the latest in Travelers pantsuits, her silhouette was striking but not stunning. He also noticed the tight, jet-black curls of hair with just a hint of white around the temples and neckline. The tasteful touch of white added a respectable amount of maturity without detracting from the overall attractiveness of the womanly figure.
In matters of gender attraction, Manny had always thought of himself as more like an avian than an animal. He had learned in Biology that in birds, the male dressed up to be able to attract a female. In the animal world on the other hand the process seemed to have something to do with the female needing something from the male. This thought as he got older became more and more depressing. Even as a kid he would never express an interest in a girl until they had already noticed him. Then he could never figure out what to do next.
Although he was usually clean cut and dressed well, Manny as a representative of the male of the species was not a particularly attractive specimen. Consequently, being faced with sitting beside an attractive woman was more than a little intimidating.
On October 15, as KLM Flight #6012 lifted gracefully off the runway at Salt Lake City International Airport, Manny was nervously shuffling through his briefcase/hand baggage to make sure he hadn’t forgotten to bring along his copy of the letter.