The Middle Seat | Sachin Sharma


The Middle Seat

Sachin Sharma

Mutually Assured Construction Award

I glanced at my boarding pass.

‘Seat: 13B’

Damn, middle seat. I am jinxed to get good neighbours in a flight.

I saw him coming down the aisle.

He was very tall, black and wore a white gown. His skin was oily and shining. His perky nipples showed like two buttons on his chest. He wore a skull cap, flaunting his religion.

Now I am not a bigot but I can’t stand those who wear their belief system for a dress. Like I abhor those who wear Arsenal Jerseys.

Coming closer to 12th row he showed his impeccably white teeth, cloddishly

I am going to ruin this flight for you’, his smile was an advertisement to misadventures.

“Excuse me”, he said and mimed to show that the window seat belonged to him and I shall let him in. I closed the magazine I was pretending to read with a dramatic clap and followed his instructions.

I gestured, ‘Go right in, my Lord’.

“Hi, I am Ahmed..and you?”, He small-talked while adjusting in his seat.

“I am Sleepy”, I said with a sullen face “…very sleepy”. And I covered my eyes with the eye-mask.

“Where are you from Sir?”, he asked ignoring my eye patch and lack of interest.

“Oh! I am from Manhattan.” I bluffed again. He ignored the sarcasm because I clearly look, smell, speak and represent Australia.

He continued, “Oh, that’s far. I from Suriname. Neva’ eva’ been outside ma beautiful country sir”.

I thumbed up.

Just when I thought it was over, I felt slithering warm touch and flinched my elbow. The flight had taken off by then and so had my temper.

“Hey, could you use the other arm rest? This one is mine.”

“Yeah, I am a bit scared. First time in flight”, he said with glee and pride.

But he did not move his hand a bit.

I elbowed him.

What a buffoon? I‘ll shove this arm rest up his hairy Buffon ass’, I shouted in my head and shifted to the vacant aisle seat.

He kept looking at me and said, “What’s wrong sir? You going to attend a funeral?”. His sense of humour was morbid.

“Hey listen Mohammad Ali, I am in no mood for chitty-chatter. So let me sleep and see you in Neverland.” I was reeling with anger.

We looked in opposite directions and slowly a slumbering silence took over the dimmed flight cabin.

We took different paths to get off the flight.


24 hours later, Dr. Dave gave me the good news.

“Your kidney donor is in town. Ahmed, from Suriname, has come here specially for this”, He revealed his plans for me.

Ahmed entered with a bigger smile. A bit of him was going to become mine and I needed to apologise.