I was crying in the airport terminal. Debit card stolen, no cash, and a broken phone. They started boarding passengers. Should I go and risk being stranded, or stay home?
A nice looking middle aged man tried to catch my eye with a questioning smile. I looked down, ashamed to be caught crying.
But I decided to chance it, and boarded the plane.
I lifted my rolling carry-on bag. “Need help?” a man at my right asked. “Naw,” I said. “I got it. My (Bunny)Mama always taught me to ‘never pack more than you can carry at a dead run, or lift above your head’.”
A flight attendant chimed in. “Smart woman.”
“Yes.” I said. “Very.”
Poke. Poke-poke. Something scratchy was rubbing the back of my arm. I looked down to see a drink ticket being pushed between the seats. I peeked and saw the nice man from the airport terminal.
“Hi. Could you use a drink?”
“You have no idea.”
To his right, a head of lovely blond hair. “That was nice of you,” she said to the man. He introduced himself to her.
I ordered a red wine, only to have the flight attendant refuse my ticket. “It’s on me, angel,” she said.
Out the window, a wispy layer of clouds skimmed over the wings, giving you that rare perspective on just how fast the plane is really going.
“Oh-no! What happened?” the flight attendant asked.
I dabbed with a napkin that was completely dwarfed by the spreading wine stain. “You warned me to be careful.”
The girl in my row, dabbing at the seat in front of her, “that turbulence caught us off guard.”
“It’s everywhere,” I said. “Sorry. Can I have more napkins?”
The flight attendant took in the whole mess, the back of the seat in front of me, the wall, the window, and of course, me. From hip to shoe.
I turned to the girl in my row, “As if this day wasn’t bad enough, what cab is going to pick up a girl who looks like she just murdered someone?” I think a hint of tears could be heard.
The flight attendant grabbed my wrist and pulled me up. “You poor darling! You just can’t meet your future mother in law smelling like wine!”
HUH? I had no idea what she meant, but I just rolled with it. At the very back of the plane she started dabbing and molesting me with sparkling water and a maxi pad. If I did in fact meet my future mother in law on that trip (honestly, who knows?), I sure didn’t smell like wine.
“Do you want another drink?” she asked after getting me all moped up and clean.
“If you trust me with it.”
I handed her the drink ticket, yet somehow I found it back in my purse again later.
Behind me, the nice man and the lovely blond lady found out that their hotels were only a block from each other.
I leaned back, put that drink ticket I just couldn’t seem to lose in the book I’d been loaned and looked out the window. I thought to myself, I will never forget the way I feel, right in this moment.
The flight attendant brought me what can only be described as a sippy cup of wine. And a deck of cards. And a pair of wings.
Behind me, the lovely blond laughed at the nice man’s jokes, and suggested they get a drink together the following evening.
We landed. Sometimes, the flight just isn’t long enough.