"Excuse me, could you please let me through the aisle? I just need to get through here," I said.
"Sorry, I never like to bother people when they are sleeping, but I would just appreciate it if I couldÖ"
"Itís fine young lady, just hurry back so I can get back to my nap," he said.
I shot him a glance and tried to scurry on past him as fast as I could. The man couldnít be older than sixty-five, but he was such a grouchy old man and he had odd style, too. He was wearing a white and red Brooklyn bridge shirt with a yellow hat and black jeans that barely reached the top of his ankles when he stood up.
"Okay sir, I will be back soon. Again, sorry for the inconvenience," I said walking past him.
I strolled on past the others until I finally made it up to bathroom line. I really had to use it. They should really get more than one bathroom on these airplanes. While waiting in line for the rest room, I couldnít help but scan the people behind me. I always felt as if watching people on an airplane was the most interesting form of
"people-watching." Everyone was in his or her own world. The two small children in the back left corner, one with blonde hair and the other with brown hair, were kicking the seat in front of them, meanwhile the businesswoman in front was getting very irritated, probably upset she that didnít get first-class. Then there was the couple closer by holding hands and
looking through a purple Nikon camera, most likely reminiscing about their honeymoon. Then there was the grouchy man next to me of course, and a younger kid behind my seat drawing numerous pictures with one red crayon.
"Ehhh hemmm," I heard a cough behind me. It came from the annoyed young businesswoman.
"Oh sorry mam, I didnít realize the restroom was available now," I said with an apologetic look.
After I made my way back to my seat, the man next to me was happy I wasnít going to interrupt his sleep anytime soon. He settled back into his comfortable position, although Iím not so sure how he could be that comfortable, and he quickly fell asleep. I placed my big white headphones on my ears and grabbed a book from my bag.
"Um excuse me, could you get me that crayon by your foot please?" a small voice said.
I turned around and peeked through the crack of the seats.
"Oh yes, sure thing. One second," I said.
"Here you go."
"Thanks very much," the little boy replied.
I glanced down through the crack of the seat, and I noticed the boy was also writing as well as drawing.
"What are you drawing there?" I asked.
The woman sitting next to him looked back at me, and I assumed with the nice smile on her face that she must have been his mother.
"Peter, go on and tell her what youíre drawing," the blonde-haired woman said.
"Iím drawing pictures of kids and animals and some more kids and some g-g-g-g-giaaaannnnt houses." He stretched his arms out far to express how giant the houses were.
"Iím also writing a book with it." He flipped over the pages with his drawings on it to another page with all blue crayon writing.
"You know, I wrote a book when I was about your age." I told him.
"Hi, Iím Peter," he said, ignoring my question and rushing into a more formal introduction.
"Iím ten years old, and I love to write."
"Nice to meet you Peter who loves to write," I replied back.
Peter instantly looked back down at his paper, and I could tell he was very interested in writing just by the way he viewed his own work.
"What is your story called?" I asked him.
"Iím not sure yet, I am having trouble with that. Well, and with finishing it," Peter said as he looked off at the window.
My back began to get a bit sore from turning around, and I could tell that the man beside me was getting irritated by the way he kept tossing and turning with his pillow. I glanced over at the man, but I immediately reminded myself that I couldnít let a young mind filled with creativity go to waste.
"Hm, well maybe I can help you," I said. "Look here," I turned to grab a book from the front of my seat. I tossed it overhead to the young boy.
He stared at me with a blank stare as if I was joking that he should look through a three hundred and seventy five page book.
"Well, go on then, look at it," I smiled, giving him reassurance that the book would be good for him to read.
"Excuse me kind lady, but why donít you just tell me about the book?" Peter asked.
"Well I guess I could if you really wanted me to," I answered with a confused expression on my face, but I guess it was expecting a lot from a ten year old to have them read such a huge book.
"Okay well, it isÖ"
I began to tell Peter what the book was about when he interrupted me.
"Wait a second, kind lady, I meanÖAmelia Jones?" he asked.
Peter flipped to the back of the book and must have realized that the authorís picture on the back of the book was indeed me.
"Yes, thatís me. Sorry I should have introduced it as my book earlier, Peter," I said.
He just looked back at me with no response. All that was staring at me was a little boy wearing a blue and red superman shirt, the same colors as his crayons, with shaggy brown hair, bright sea green eyes, and a few freckles near his chin. But the most notable thing about him was not his shirt, but the fact that his eyes were filled with
the passion to write and the desire to become a better writer. It is something I knew very well and something we mutually understood, and it was something that no writer, young or old, could buy.
"This book, Peter, is about a friend of mine who started a camp in South Africa for young children your age who want to have fun and be encouraged to do things they love, just like you." I was curious to see his response.
"Why did you write it, Ms. Jones?"
"Call me Amelia. And I wrote this book because I was inspired to tell the world about a woman I met on a trip to Africa. She strove to better childrenís lives through the simple idea of creating a camp," I answered.
"Did you go to Africa and meet the kids?"
"Yes, they are a lot like you with big dreams, and they love to draw too. Some are just now learning to write, and Iím sure they would want to write a book one day."
"Wow," Peter said.
He gave me a shy smile, and I could have sworn that he had a sparkle in his eye.
"I won the Pulitzer Prize for my book. Thatís theÖ"
"Yeah, I know what that isÖwell, kind of."
"Well it is this biiiiig prize," I motioned with my hands, trying to imitate him earlier. "And writers get it when people on the Pulitzer Prize committee think their book is exceptionally written, wholesome, and inspirational. I bet you will get the next one," I nodded towards the beginning of his novel sitting on the tray table in front of
"Oh," Peter scrunched up his nose while sniffling and handed me back my book.
He started to put away his writing and drawings and just stared at the window. I wasnít actually sure if anything I said he really understood, but I did know that there was something in him that reminded me of myself when I was young. Maybe Peter and I would never meet again. He might go off and become a prestigious businessman, or maybe I
will read about his book winning the Pulitzer Prize one day.
I turned around in my seat, and I too, looked out the window. I reflected on when I dreamed of becoming an award-winning writer, and I turned the book over to the front. The title read "Where I Was Inspired," and I quickly remembered why I was glad I stuck to writing and where it all began, working with children three years ago in South