She was a bruised lady, you could tell from the teeth. The teeth said: I’m mean, plus the hair. The hair was the kind that you combed up and around for maximum coverage. Like you could hide the baldness that way, sure. The girl was in the window seat next to her. She thought that the lady was bruised like her aunt Joan, that kind of bruised. Like, never had a childhood bruised, not purple bruised, not physical. But the mean teeth, those were physical.

Mean lady, can I get past you to go to the small bathroom where I will inevitably pee on the seat? That’s what the girl was thinking, but what she said was nicer, more normal, excuse me a million times. The girl’s bladder was small, and she imagined it like a water balloon in her belly, filling up with the club soda she was enjoying. Bruised, childhood-less lady, may I relieve myself in your Styrofoam cup? That’s what the girl was thinking, but she would never say this. The bruised lady said, Well, okay, but mad, like she was pissed at the girl for having to pee or something, but really she should have been mad at either the club soda or the bladder, it was not the girl’s fault.

The mean teeth snarled a little bit when the girl straddled the bruised lady and her stiff pants. They were khaki maybe. Capris. These type of ladies always wanted to show their ankles, maybe the only part of them that was not bruised. While in straddle position, the girl wanted to ask about the childhood. Where did it go, your childhood? She didn’t ask this of course. That would be rude. Instead she went to the bathroom, peed on her leg, used the small weird sink that was sort of alarmingly unadvanced, considering technology these days.

Once back in her seat the girl was getting comfortable, using her personal technology and eating unsatisfying peanuts, when she had to pee again. Bitchy bruised lady would not deal well with that, though, so she held it, imagined throwing her water balloon bladder at a fence and watching it splash, kaboom. She decided to look out the window to a) avoid the lady and b) see the sights. She saw the Grand Canyon down below. Hey bruised lady! Do you want to see the gorge?!

She actually said this out loud, and the lady looked. She reached her bruised body over the girl and strained to see out the square-circle window. Down below was truly magnificent. Deepening channels of moody earth, layers of silt, etc. Like a life, but bigger, physically. Emotionally smaller, though. Oh my goodness, the lady said, putting her cranky hand up to her wrinkly mouth, and the girl realized quickly that they would be friends by the time they landed, that the woman would touch her hand before they de-boarded, telling her in her ear: I did have a childhood, you know. We wore calico and drank through straws. And the canyon would yawn beneath.