On my night flight back home from Toronto, I discovered that my flight was delayed. I had a very tired boy who was just wilting with exhaustion, but even so, he was quiet and well-behaved. I knew I had it better than the mom with the crying toddler. It was that time of night where kids are better off in bed.
When we finally did start boarding an hour later, we did that line-up that people automatically do. I arrived at the end of the line at the same time as a very tall, athletic, well-dressed man. He had prematurely silver hair and no wedding ring–I check these things since I’m overly snoopy about people’s relationships. From his shoes to his perfectly pressed shirt, he was immaculate. The only thing out of place was a rather beaten up brief case. People who have the money to dress well don’t normally stop at their vinyl briefcases, but there could have been an interesting story behind it. In the back of my mind, I was going through single women I could mentally match him with.
I was mildly curious to see if he’d gesture for the tired mother to go ahead of him, since we did arrive at the same time. I paused, glanced up at him. He looked over my head and stepped in front of me. I had to step back to keep from being hip checked. He kept staring resolutely forward and kept on the other guy’s heels, lest someone sneak in front of him.
We ended up sitting in the same row.
The rest of his flight was uneventful. He tried to be charming to the stewardess, attempted to give helpful advice from his seat while someone struggled with putting a bag into the overhead bin. He could have lent a hand. He didn’t.
Then they put the lights down, and we all dozed or read or watched satellite TV as the miles slipped by beneath us. I didn’t doze or read. I pulled out my laptop and planned my next book.
And in that book, if you come across a silver haired, good-looking guy (certainly not the hero!) who has such potential to be a decent human being but never really makes the grade… well, you’ll know where he originated. 😉
These are the sorts of places I find my characters.