Sally never listened

As holidays go, this one was definitely going to be one of the most memorable.

Ted clicked on the right arrow, flicking through the array of photographs. The camera told him he was on number 173 of 1,729. The joy of digital. He was surprised there weren’t more, although he had been through them, back in the hotel room, deleting the fuzzy ones. Following wildlife around on safari, there had been plenty of those.

06 hyena 195623He wished Sally had been there to see the results of the last few but then she would have said that 2D could never replace 3D, having a rhinoceros charge at you, a lion feeding its young, hyenas ripping apart… Ted didn’t need to picture that image, he was looking at it.

He looked up as the announcement called for his flight. He picked up his bag and walked to Gate 17. This was the bit he usually loved and Sally usually hated but today he felt the same. They were travelling on different flights and that felt too weird.

The woman in the blue and yellow uniform smiled as she took his boarding pass.

He tried to smile back but knew it was fake.

She read his name and her smile faded. She nodded and held out her arm to indicate his path.

He trudged in line following the other passengers, some in suits, most in casual clothes. He was still in khaki, a last memory to his two-week vacation, one he didn’t want to remember but knew he always would.

As the ‘no seatbelt’ sign dimmed, Ted removed his belt then swung his legs round as the man in the next seat asked to be let out. Ted watched him walk up the aisle and into the toilet. His wife was staring out the window, hands gripping the seat arms.

Ted laughed, not just to himself, but out loud, to the whole plane and he couldn’t stop laughing.

As he started to unnerve the other passengers, an air stewardess approached. “Is everything alright, sir?”

Ted nodded, tears rolling down his face.

“Is there anything I can do, sir?”

Ted shook his head, and wiped his cheek. “I told her…”

“Yes, sir?”

“I told her, my wife Sally, not to get too close but she wouldn’t listen. She had to get out the jeep and see for herself. Had to get the best photographs. It was a new camera you see. I bought it for her for our anniversary. She bought the holiday. Very brave, I thought, seeing as she doesn’t… didn’t like flying.”

The stewardess looked at the woman staring out the window.

“Oh, that’s not her,” Ted said. “No, she’s on the next flight.”

The stewardess looked puzzled.

“They wouldn’t let us travel together. I said I’d wait but-”

“That’s terrible,” the stewardess said half-heartedly, then went to attend to another passenger.

The woman carried on staring out the window as her husband returned. He took his seat and turned to Ted. “I hope you’ve not been trying to talk to her. You won’t get anything unless you touch her. Deaf as a post. Never listens to a word I say. Still in shock, I suppose.”


“Oh yes, terrifying really. Came a bit too close to a pack of hyenas on one of our jaunts. They said afterwards that a woman did exactly the same thing the day before and wasn’t so lucky. I’d told her to be careful but as I said, never listens to a word I say.”


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