“Priority Seating” (Part One)

Written By R.B.Bailey Jr

Copyright 2016 R.B.Bailey Jr

All Rights Reserved

Sam had an early start that morning, to catch a flight home.

Taking a train to the airport, he was going back to America for Christmas vacation.

He wanted to nap for awhile.

One station later, a group of noisy high school students boarded the train, waking him up.

The train was full, but Sam saw one of the prized “priority seats” was empty in the next car, and

knew it was the perfect place to nap during a long train ride.

He rushed through the car, to get the seat, before someone else did.

A man in a dirty orange knit hat is sitting diagonally to his right, head bobbing up and down as he slips in and out of a shallow sleep.

Sam kinda chuckled, because the man didn’t have enough sense to grab a priority seat.

Across from him was an area for wheelchairs.

A moment later, a little girl, her mom and grandma came walking by, “You really shouldn’t be sitting there…” the little girl stopped and said to him.

Sam was surprised, then looked around and said, “No other seats…sorry.”

He closed his eyes once again, trying to sleep.

“You’re still here?” A tiny voice invaded his dream, waking him up a while later.

It was the little girl, again.

She came back, because this really bothered her.

“Huh?” Sam replied, “Where is your mom?” He looked around, and saw that the train was becoming very packed with the usual morning rush-hour traffic.

The two seniors sitting next to him now, gave him a cold look.

“She’s with my grandma somewhere over there…” She gestured towards the packed riders, “She couldn’t get a seat.”

“Sorry to hear that…” Sam replied, not about to give up his seat.

The two seniors were still giving him a cold look, along with the pregnant lady standing up in front of him.

Sam looked over to his right, and through the window, and saw even more people staring at him from the other car.

The little girl spoke up with bitterness in her voice, “You better pray my grandma doesn’t get trampled by all these commuters, or so help me…”

Just then, the train suddenly stopped, and all the commuters lunged forward, knocking both the little girl and pregnant lady over.

Sam heard a moan from the packed commuters.

It sounded like an old lady moan.

The commuters righted themselves, including the little girl and pregnant lady.

The pregnant lady was ok, but the little girl didn’t look happy with Sam.

“That sounded like my grandma…” The little girl said in a low whisper to Sam, her hair now disheveled across her face.

Sam tried his best to peer through the packed commuters, but it was useless.

Just too many people.

“I think your grandma is fine…” Sam said to her, not really knowing if she was or not.

The little girl’s eyes cut away from Sam, towards the general direction of her grandma…then back at Sam.

“Where are you going?” The little girl asked him.

“I’m going home to America…could you leave me alone?” He replied, starting to feel annoyed now, “Go stand somewhere else, please…”

The little girl looked up at the pregnant lady, over to the two old ladies, then back at Sam.

The four females looked at each other, agreeing that something was amiss…but that was going to be his punishment for being a jerk.

“Are you going to sit in the senior seats on the plane, too?” The little girl asked him.

Sam was glad she was a little comedian, “Airplanes dont have senior seats…”

But the little girl wasn’t smiling.

No one was smiling.

(To Be Continued…)

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A Rare Honor…

I went to my chiropractor today, to tend to a pulled muscle in my leg, that occurred a few days ago.

The office wasn’t that busy, and it’s usually a casual, family friendly atmosphere.

While I was waiting to be called back, a little girl (maybe 2 or 3) went over to get a book for her grandmother to read to her.

The little girl handed the book to her grandmother, then climbed up on her lap to hear the story.

I wanted to hear it too. Maybe more than the little girl.

I was almost ecstatic, but I just kept to myself in my little corner of the waiting area…listening very carefully to grandma’s tender voice.

The grandmother couldn’t read the english part too well, so she read the Japanese translation.

The little girl seemed to enjoy the book, turning the pages faster than her grandmother could read them. Finally, grandma gave up and relinquished the book to her granddaughter.

I was having a surreal moment, one that I thought I would never see. Ever.

The book was “The New Neighbor”…one of my first books ever published, and definitely “my baby” among my other ones. It’s slowly becoming a part of book retailer’s catalogs and websites around the world…and hope it continues to grow.

I had gifted a copy to the clinic a couple of years ago, as a token of appreciation for all the times they had kept me upright and walking. I have no idea how many have seen, or read it until today.

All I know is, as a writer, it’s an honor to discreetly watch someone take the time read and share something that you have written. No one ever expects to read a book, with the author being just five or so feet away. The book was in the habitat that it was meant to be in…no way was I going to upset that.

The little girl eventually put the book back in its place on the bookshelf for the next reader, and chose another.

I hope Ryo and his family have a new fan today.

I hope I have a new fan, as well.

The New Neighbor Title Page