The stewardess had announced that they would be taking off shortly. He buckled himself dutifully into his middle seat as the seatbelt sign blinked on above his head.
To his side, he noticed that the woman sitting in the aisle seat had invaded some of his legroom. She was tall, and her feet splayed out past the imaginary line that divided their territory on the floor.
She caught him looking down, where her feet extended into middle seat terrain.
“Sorry,” she said, retreating her feet back to their cramped position in front of her. She shuffled around, adjusting her position until her feet invaded the aisle. There, he thought, they were sure to be run over by the waitress who pushed the cart full of beverages.
He heard the whining of the engines increase in volume. She didn’t have her seatbelt on, he noticed. Perhaps he had distracted her with his complaint.
“Um,” he mumbled.
She looked at him expectantly, readjusting so that both of her feet now made it substantially more difficult for anyone to pass by the aisle.
“You didn’t fasten your seatbelt,” he explained. His eyes flicked to her waist.
“Oh.” She did nothing.
He did nothing, too, staring at an interesting spot on the carpeted floor. The man in the window seat glanced sideways at them, visibly annoyed.
A stewardess walked by. “Ma’am, can you please keep your feet out of the aisle, please?”
He glared at the stewardess. The lady in the aisle seat shifted guiltily again, this time forced into limbo. Her feet were now somehow back in his zone and yet still crowding the aisle. None of them were happy now, he thought, trying to focus the entirety of his disapproval at the stewardess so that she would realize she was only compounding the awkwardness of the situation.
“Also, please fasten your seatbelt,” the stewardess ventured, probably hoping to diffuse the tension.
“Oh god,” he said.