She called it her “sippy cup.” The water bottle had a built in straw that reminded her of a child’s spill-proof cup. Today, of course, she wasn’t drinking water. The vodka bottle from the duty free shop was buried in her bag, and she wondered how discreetly she could refill her cup in the busy terminal. She wondered if she looked as bad as she felt. She wondered why she should even get on the plane at all.

“Here you go,” a chipper voice said, cutting in on her ruminations.


A large man with a round belly was leaning toward her and holding out a flower necklace. “This one’s for you,” he said. “I know, you’re supposed to get the lei when you arrive. But I figure, look at all these people. Vacation’s ending; they’re going home to everyday life. And travelling’s always stressful. Seems like they might need flowers too.

“Come ooooon,” he said when she still didn’t reach for the necklace, “you’ll be able to tell people you got ‘leied’ at the airport!”

To her own surprise, she laughed. Moments later, she was wreathed in pink flowers, and felt like she could face the future after all.

Photo by Killian Pham on Unsplash

Story by Gregory M. Fox

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