It had been a good week and I was sorry to see it end but had been fortunate to be able to be there at all. Having been "absorbed" into the workforce of the buying company after a merger with a younger but more energetic company, I turned out to be one of the first employees of the company to celebrate 25 years with the company. I had to laugh at that because the buying company was three months short of being 25 years old itself.
Still I had to say that the company took care of its people. As an anniversary award, I was given a week's vacation from my home on the east coast to any of several choices, which I quickly narrowed down to Hawaii and then to the island of Maui. I would have a condo and enough expense money to pay for a car rental, meals, and the various entertainment offered on the island, including but not limited to dinner cruises, parasailing, plantation tours, train rides and a tour of the island.
And the week had been truly magnificent, with perfect weather, whales in the cove off Lahaina, fresh-cut pineapple everywhere you looked, and a great surf for swimming. The seafood was fantastic; the service was great everywhere, and the luau I attended on the lawn of a hotel in Kanapali was a fun experience. I had even met a couple of Polynesian girls that I got to first base with, although I would have loved to have had more time with them to see what would have developed.
As much as I would have liked to delay the inevitable, the end of my week in Hawaii came on Wednesday. I checked out of the condo, drove to Kahului, where I boarded a Boeing 767 for the first leg of the journey home. The plane was only about a third full when we took off and I had hopes of being able to stretch out and catch up on some of the sleep I'd been missing.
Alas, it was not to be. We landed at the Honolulu Airport on Oahu long enough to take on additional passengers for the mainland. The plane, arranged with 2-5-2 seating in coach, rapidly filled up until the row I was in near the back was packed solid. I did have an aisle seat but it was going to be a long six hours before we landed in LA. I kept scanning the seats I could see to determine the possibilities of a more comfortable arrangement but as take-off time neared, I couldn't see many vacancies.
Right at the last minute, one of the flight attendants came down the aisle leading a woman who was struggling with a crutch. As she passed by me, I could see that she was wearing a pressure bandage on her right knee and was not putting any weight on it. As the attendant helped her into a seat a couple of rows behind me, I heard her say that she'd had an accident and had torn ligaments in the knee. However she couldn't let that stop her from a long-planned visit to her sister on the west coast.
Ten minutes later, the doors were closed and the plane was pushed back from the gate. Quickly I got up and went to the back of the plane for one last look around and I found that the five seats in front of the rear bulkhead were occupied only by the lady with the bad knee... she had settled into the three seats on the left side, covered by a dark blue blanket with her head on a couple of pillows resting against the aisle seat's arm rest. She appeared to already be asleep. Since there was no one in the other aisle seat or the one to its left, I hurried around the bulkhead and settled into the aisle seat just as the plane began to roll.
I got out a novel I had brought along since I sometimes have problems sleeping on airplanes. Drinks were served quickly and cleanup was very efficient. The main cabin lights were extinguished and only the aisle guide lamps and the directed glow of overhead reading lights provided illumination. It looked like most of the passengers quickly succumbed to slumber with only an occasional visitor wandering the aisles to visit the restrooms or talk to the attendants who mostly rested on the jump seats just behind the rear bulkhead. One by one the overhead reading lights went out until there were just a few scattered throughout the cabin like fireflies on a spring night.
We were at least 90 minutes into the flight when I slumped partially over the seat to my left, looking for a change in posture to ease the boredom and I noticed that the reclining lady had also shifted her position, snuggling down a little more into the seat so that her feet were now over the middle of the seat to my left. I stole a glance at her and realized that she couldn't see me... she was facing the far wall and laying on her side.
When she had passed me earlier, I noted that she was a thirtyish woman, from her looks Filipino Hawaiian, with a nice trim figure and shapely legs, in spite of the knee bandage that her short red dress did not quite cover. She was wearing dark stockings and red high heels even though it looked like they added to her mobility problem. However she had either taken the shoes off when she laid down or they had fallen off in her sleep because her feet were now uncovered except for the stockings she wore.
As I propped on my left arm and read my book, I noticed that my left hand was just inches from her foot and, even more intriguing, the blanket came just over the top of her leg and didn't cover her backside. What the heck, she was asleep anyway, I thought, extending my fingertips to touch her ankle. She didn't respond so I let my fingers rove around the heel of her right foot. As the miles flew by unseen below us, I gradually let my fingers wander up the back of her leg, just lightly touching her nylon-covered skin, using strokes of just a few inches and advancing very carefully, pausing every so often when she shifted or her breathing pattern changed.
.... There is more of this story ...