Meet Mike, 54, piano maker. Married. Two kids. Loves his wife. “She’s a good woman,” he repeats countlessly, as if willing himself to believe. Cassie, 31, SWF, has embarked on a new business venture managing chalets in Zermatt.
“Get a group of five people, do all the planning and you can stay for free,” she offers temptingly, tossing the strawberry blond locks from her ample bosom. The above-the-knee leather boots clinch it. A certain appeal even to me, and I’m just the peep in Row 12.
Mike’s returning from Switzerland where, with Dad in tow, they have spread his mum’s ashes, a return to her native land. Dad, wedged between his son and Cassie, gazes out at the land disappearing below, leaving his wife of 60 years for a second time. Like him, my girl lays on Swiss soil. A silent bond forged one row back.
Cassie’s been married before. It didn’t work out though. She found out her husband was already married. Whoopsy. He forgot to tell her. She’s hoping to find love again but looking in all the wrong places. Mike fancies himself as Mr Right but wouldn’t you know, he’s married too. Idle chatter about why people marry, they agree on true love. I wonder if there’s another kind.
Dad is ignored for the duration of the ninety minute flight. Mike and Cassie fall in love around him.
“It’s so great you make pianos, that’s so creative.”
“Well, that was ages ago, I’ve been a postal worker for twenty years now.”
Cassie regales the blessings of a 5:30 am start. She agrees in all the right places.
Mike’s living the good life. Grows all his own vegetables. Has chickens.
“Oh, chickens, I love chickens. That’s SOOO great, Mike.”
Mike, hungry for her approval fawns shamelessly. Like peas in a pod. Five varieties of runner beans he cultivates, blanches, plunges into iced water, bags and loads into one of his three freezers. Riveting.
The love fest continues. He’s confident her new business venture will succeed because she’s so great and so gorgeous.
“Oh, you’re SOOOO nice, Mike. Thank you. I’m so glad I met you.”
Lashings of charm.
I’m left wondering about this new kind of in-flight entertainment. Embarrassed? Envious? Saddened?
On landing, Mike promptly lowers Cassie’s suitcase from the overhead bin. Dad is left to get his own, like he’s not even there. He’s not. Not in Mike’s mind at least.
Clutching the five jackets she removed to comply with the 20 kg weight limit, Mike wheels Cassie’s case through the 25 minute passport line. His arm around her now, leaning toward her face, breathless with wanting more than Facebook friendship. The ‘good wife, good life’ seems a thing of the past.
Dad moves on in the queue, alone.