“Will my doll melt in Floor-ee-dah?”
It had only been a few minutes since I’d delved back into the novel I’d been reading. The little one in the seat next to mine — shiny gold curls, wide sunny eyes, pert freckled nose — had already asked several questions about the exotic locale she and her (lucky) granny were off to visit. I closed my book and slid it into the magazine holder attached to the seat in front of me. I was used to talking to little girls, even curious ones — I’d grown up with them. I should’ve known it would be my luck to be seated next to one on the lengthy flight from Gatwick to Orlando.
“Are you planning on leaving your doll out in the sun for a long time?” I asked her, settling further back into my seat.
She stole a quick glance at Granny, who was already snoring softly in the window seat. Then she twisted around in her seat, facing me dead-on. She crinkled her nose, mulling over what I’d asked before she answered. “Mummy said it’s really hot there. She said it’s like an oven, it’s so hot.”
“It’ll be cooler for your dolly if you keep her inside,” I said. “You wouldn’t want to accidentally-on-purpose leave her outside and find her all blobby and sticky, would you?”
She slowly shook her head at that, the very idea of blobby and sticky. It had, apparently, been her number one concern about the trip.
“So what are you and your granny doing when you get there? You have any plans?” I asked. Since she was to be my airplane seat buddy for the next nine hours or so, I’d have to make the most of the conversation. Be a part of it for a change. As much as I longed to read away the time as I often did on long flights, it just wasn’t going to happen this time.
She let out a loud, exasperated sigh and rolled her eyes at me. Evidently, the answer to that question had been a part of the earlier one-sided conversation she’d had while I’d been trying to read. “I already told you,” she said, “We’re going to Orlando. Then we’re going to Disney World. Then we’re going to Floor-ee-dah.”
After a little geography lesson, we spent the next couple of hours drawing crude maps of Florida — well, Floor-ee-dah — in crayon.
It seemed to help pass the time.