The middle seat

by David K Joseph

This story is part of our 'Romantic Travel Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.

Photo by Khaya L.


How little do we men know the female psyche!

I was off for two weeks, as the travel brochure described it, to Enchanting Mauritius. "Mauritius would enchant me, uplift my soul, making me feel that I belonged to the chosen few. I would enjoy personal attention. Every encounter would be an opportunity to discover a friendly face. Behind every smile would lay the promise of a unique holiday. Mauritius, would offer an essential beauty that would compel me to return to its shores, time and time again. My stay in Mauritius would remain engraved in my memory forever."

I was chomping at the bit to get there not realizing how prophetic those words were!

The Air Mauritius flight was at the ungodly hour of 1:30am, but that didn’t curb my enthusiasm. I queued up at the check-in counter behind two young women, who were chatting and giggling, and prayed that if there was a God, I would be seated near them, for the eight hour flight. They were both in their twenties, exquisitely beautiful and drop dead gorgeous. When my eyes met those of the girl immediately in front of me, I just melted I was tongue-tied and nervous. I couldn’t say a word!

They checked-in and disappeared. I checked in next, wondering why the attendant was giving me this knowing smile. I wandered around in duty free waiting for the call to board. The girls were nowhere to be seen, and then we were boarding.

My seat number was 27B, and lo and behold, there they were. My belief in God was strengthened immensely when I saw the girls seated in 27A and 27C. Such things don’t happen to me! I was dumbstruck.

I mumbled "Hello, I’m Matthew" and sat down. They were Manesha and Rohini.

Why were they not sitting together? Ostensibly, because Manesha liked the window and Rohini, the aisle! Suddenly, middle seats became my favorite.

Life took on new meaning. The words in the Mauritius brochure became real.

I discovered that they hailed from Mauritius, studied in Perth, and were going home for three weeks.

That flight was a blur. Eight hours seemed like eight minutes.

They found out that I worked at a Travel Agency in Perth called Club Travel and that I was single and expertly quizzed me about everything that they wanted to find out about me. Manesha had engineered the seating arrangement with the attendant’s assistance. Keen as I was on Manesha, she was even keener on me. I was just thankful!

I experienced Mauritius as no travel brochure could ever describe! Every day, every minute, every second, was keen and fresh and invigorating. I met Manesha’s friends and family, and we spent every minute of our time on that beautiful island together.

My Hotel, the Beau Rivage, were concerned that I was ‘missing’. However, they understood!

My two week holiday was extended and we flew back together after three…seated in the middle again, but this time to a lifetime with Manesha!

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