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I sat across from him in the Tokyo Airport, curiously observing him. I had come to the conclusion that this man was a stuffy, intelligent, bland, middle-aged, well-off American, in whom I had no further interest. For his business suit and smug expression in no way resembled my jeans, T-shirt and blank face that every fourteen-year-old wears. Therefore, I continued my discussion of Sherlock Holmes, how I’d rather be English, Robbie Williams, and the exhilaration I get from hearing a British accent, with my older sister. The expression on my face was priceless as I found my seat on the plane, for that man was seated right next to it.

I stood there, gaping in astonishment. My eyes shot a glance at the seat and aisle number: they were correct. He looked up, smiled, and said, “Hello, are these your seats?” I would have fainted right then and there if it weren’t for the tight aisle I was standing in. This man was no dumb American. This man was English!

As soon as I sat down I felt one of the biggest grins spread from cheek to cheek upon my face. Immediately, I leaned over to my sister’s ear, and a rushed whisper, almost sounding as if a demon were talking, escaped my lips translating into, “Did you hear that!?” She nodded with a grin as wide as mine. Suddenly, this flight didn’t seem so dreadful after all.

There was nothing significantly homely nor attractive about him, but for some reason I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. It was never an obvious stare, but more out of the corner of my eye. I had never been this close to an Englishman before, and I must say, this one in particular was most peculiar.

It wasn’t long until everyone’s headphones were on and in use mine included. I turned to the instrumental station. My eyes floated over to his controller. I wasn’t alone. Not two seconds later I found his eyes closed and a finger moving with swift, precise movements to the beat of the music. I am unsure how long my eyes stayed glued to this forever moving finger, slicing through the air, right, left, up, down. As the flight went on and the movies began, I directed my attention to other things. It wasn’t until he pulled out a tape player that once again he was center stage. His next act was the highlight of the flight.

No longer were his ears being soothed with sounds of an orchestra, but rather with the sounds of the “soul train.” He once again picked up with his hand gestures, except he decided to add a little more “pizzazz” to the act. This man got into it. His head swayed as he mouthed the words with the exaggerated expression of a pop star. I remember responding with commentary that never left my lips; “Sing it, Aretha!”

It came the time for the stewardesses to push their carts along, selling over- priced airline items and alcoholic beverages. Perhaps the Englishman was waiting for this moment, seeing how he guzzled down three Bloody Marys and purchased the loveliest pen. I’ve always wondered if passengers actually bought the stuff in the magazines; now I know they do. It is amazing how this gentleman could answer so many of my questions without saying a word to me.

Things began to slow down as the long flight home continued. The man next to me worked on a few business figures that looked very complex to my still-learning eyes, and then he slept. I too grew tired and soon fell asleep.

I woke to an unsatisfying breakfast and a flight that no longer had any significance. It seemed that my game of observation should be put to rest while I did the same. After spending twelve hours with that gentleman, I realized that my first observations were nowhere near accurate. I met a new person. He was quite a man when last I saw him, and I’m sure he still is. He is the acquaintance I never met, but one of the most respected people in my book, and I thank him for that experience.

Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.


The following comments are for "The Acquaintance I Never Met"
by Elleta Jo Crismon

aquaintance I never met
I love all your writing, as a fourteen year old,well really adults are much the same way, but we tend gather conclusions by the first impression which most of the time is much different in public, the book without out its dust cover is what I can't wait to see,even people who seem rude I think to myself often what their life is all about.............You're a great writer, I enjoyed all,

( Posted by: CoCo [Member] On: December 1, 2003 )

thank you
thank you very much. your comments mean a lot to me. i'm glad you enjoyed my essay.

( Posted by: Elleta Jo Crismon [Member] On: December 1, 2003 )

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