"Delayed" by Sherman Alexie
illustration by george pfromm II
He'd missed his flight and was wait-listed for the next flight, due to leave in 30 minutes. He took a seat in a bar and grill, airport restaurants being the prime distributors of terrible fries, and watched women hurry by. He was looking for the most beautiful woman, and once he spotted her, he was going to approach her.
He was married, and was mostly happy, and had no desire to cheat on his wife. He only wanted to be briefly wanted by a stranger.
And then she appeared, a gorgeous East Indian woman in daredevil heels.
"Hello," he said.
She stared at him. Not unfriendly, just bored by the men who always approached her.
"I'm Indian, too," he said. "The bow-and-arrows kind."
"I'm Pakistani," she said and walked away.
How embarrassing for a brown-skinned person to make assumptions about another brown person.
He wanted to follow her and tell her that he was sorry and that the world is huge, too huge for anyone to understand.
But they were calling for his flight. He had to turn away from the mysterious world and return to what he knew.