A man boards a flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong and sits next to a window. Suddenly, a woman sits next to him and the nightmare begins. Smilingly, she says: “Hi! How are you?”. She squeezes in the seat next to him and put the arm on the shared armrest, filling all the space around him and shrinking the man into irrelevance. He reclines toward the window.
The woman is persistent – she repeats the greeting in an upbeat voice, with her face over his head. The man replies with a loathing “Hi”, and turns away to stare through the window. He sulked for a while, unhappy about the situation when she nudges him and says: “My name is Laura. I’m from Britain. What about you? Japan?” “Malaysia”, he answers. “I’m so sorry! Will you accept my heartfelt apology? Come, shake my hand. If we’re going to spend six hours side-by-side on this flight, we’d better be friends, don’t you think?” Laura says, and the man shakes her hand unwillingly.
Although he was obviously unfriendly, Laura continued bothering him talking about herself and her trip, going on how she was going to Hong Kong to meet some friends. She even had a list of things she would buy for her students at the boarding school where she was a teacher. He gave one-word replies to everything she asked him, but that didn’t bother her. She was always nice and caring, and considerate and obliging when they were served food and drinks, making sure he had enough room to maneuver. “I don’t want to clobber you with my elephant size!”, she said jokingly, but sincerely too. To the man’s big surprise, her repulsing face was now the reason for his enjoyment on the flight, so he slowly let his guard down.
Laura was a well-read person interested in many fields and was a great conversationalist. Every time an unimportant subject came up she turned it into something interesting. Her comments were full of humor, but inspirational at the same time. When they talked about culture, Laura surprised him with her knowledge and analysis. Every member of the cabin crew that served them left smiling at her jokes. She was even making jokes about her size!
The next time a flight attendant came, Laura listened about the attendant’s weight problems and gave her tips about it. Seeing that, the man asked: “‘Have you ever thought about losing some weight?” She replied: “No. I’ve worked hard to get this way. Why would I want to give it up?”
The man continued: “You aren’t worried about cardiovascular diseases that come with being overweight?”, and Laura replied happily: “Not at all. You only get the diseases if you’re worried about your weight all the time. You see advertisements from slimming centers that say, `Liberate yourself from your extra baggage so that you are free to be yourself.’ It’s rubbish! You’re liberated only if you’re comfortable about who you are, and what you look like any time of the day and anytime of the year! Why would I want to waste my time on slimming regimes when I have so many other important things to do and so many people to be friends with? I eat healthily and walk regularly; I’m this size because I am born to be big! There is more to life than worrying about weight all day long.”
She sipped at her wine and continued talking with confidence: “Besides, God gives me so much happiness that I need a bigger body to hold all of it! Why would I lose weight to lose my happiness?” Folks often see me as a fat lady with big bosoms, big thighs and a big bottom that no man would even bother to cast a glance at. They see me as a slob. They think I’m lazy and have no willpower. They’re wrong.” She held up her glass to a passing flight attendant. “More of this magnificent wine, please.” She smiled sweetly at the attendant. “Great service from your crew. May God bless all of you.” He was shocked by her amazing reasoning!
She continued by saying that she feels like a slim person inside, joking that the extra flesh is there to slow her down, or she will be chasing after men non-stop. He asked jokingly: “Do men chase after you?” and Laura replied: “Of course they do. I’m happily married, but men still keep proposing to me. Most of them have relationship problems and they need someone to confide in. For some reason, they like to talk to me. I think I should have been a counsellor instead of a school teacher!”
She paused for a moment, then continued: “You know, the relationship between men and women is so complicated. Women worship men and call them, `Honey’ until they find out they have been lied to, and then they turn into bitter gourds! Men love women so much that they see them as their soul mates until they look at their credit card bills, and then women become devils with tridents!”
What began as a nightmarish flight for the man, now turned into the best time of his life. He was fascinated by how she attracted attention – at the end of the flight, half the cabin crew stood beside their aisle, smiling and joking with Laura! Even the passengers around joined in! She was the center of attention and filled the cabin with charm and warmth.
As they waved goodbye at the Hong Kong airport, he saw Laura going towards a big group of adults and children, who hugged and kissed her. She turned around and winked at him, and then he realized that Laura was the most beautiful woman he had ever met.
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