We take off in the pouring rain. Northern remnants of a tropical depression that flooded Houston just yesterday. I silently curse the clouds.
Lifting above the storm, my mind wanders back to when I first met you. I think I was at my most damaged. Even though there was plenty of harm yet to be done, I was already a mess.
Am I better now? Most of the time I feel like I’m standing in a sandstorm. Dust devils swirling up around me. Sometimes I’m able to watch them pass, and other times I’m caught in the middle, blinded, and choking to breathe. But in every case, I’m never swept away. Gravity kicks in and my feet stay planted firmly on the ground. Is that the safety of you?
Another line of storms, and the plane begins to shake. It shivers once, and the “ding” of the seatbelt sign breaks my concentration. Do I want a drink? It’s 6:30 am. Does that matter? Not really. I decide against it because I’m already sleepy. And dehydrated from the flight. And from the night before. I knew better than to drink on a school night. But who am I kidding? I’ve never taken my own advice. Why start now?
The rocking stops and the engines relax. Another “ding”. I press “forward” on my playlist a few times to find a song I know is there. It begins to play, and my thoughts turn to you again.
You have all my secrets. You know all my stories. You put up with my crazy. And I seem to have endless crazy.
I recline my seat and consider a nap. Another hard bump and “ding” again. I glance out the window, looking for the clouds. The sky is clear. Just bumps in the air. That’s okay. Turbulence doesn’t bother me. I find myself making a quick mental list of what I’ve left undone should the plane go down.
This is not unusual. I live my life that way. Is that normal? Morbid? I don’t know, but I don’t care. It’s one of those “she’s old and set in her ways” things that will also go down with the plane. I’m okay with it.
I absentmindedly tap the “update” button to save my work. I save my work regularly anyway. But more often when I fly. Alright, maybe morbid.
My drink arrives. I am now typing with one hand because I can’t put the tray table down. The teenager next to me has fallen asleep on his, and is draped too far over. I don’t want to disturb him. I realize I’m always not disturbing people.
At 6:47 am I discover that I don’t have to type the period. All I have to do is double space. Are you kidding me? What a time saver! Better late than never I suppose.
Now I’m wondering what else I don’t know. A lot, I imagine.
Back to you. I miss you. Can we please just run away? Life is too short to stress.
Are those my feet trying to leave the ground?
The air is dry and cold, and every fiber of my being wants to nap. The flight attendant has not turned the lights back off. I’m not surprised. I think she’s been up since Wednesday. Her hair is an advertisement for dry shampoo, and the gum she is chewing can’t disguise the pack of cigarettes she smoked before breakfast. She’s rough. And the bathroom smells like urine and the floor is wet. Was there a party on this plane overnight? I’m not annoyed, but I am curious.
I am also still sleepy. The glittering lights of a city pass below. I crane my neck to look behind us. A thick line of orange separates the earth from the sky. I turn on my camera and press it against the window. The twinkling city is no match for the interior lights of the aircraft. I find myself more annoyed than curious.
The teenager shifts, and I am grateful for the wiggle room. It has been so long since I’ve had an empty seat next to me on a flight.
So, what was I thinking? It is coffee o’clock, but I will have to wait another couple hours. A yawn takes over my face. The sparkly words that were in my head during takeoff are fading like the city lights with the rising sun.
I consider how many “almost finished” blogs I have. I can read each one and remember exactly the interruption that stopped it in its tracks. There is clarity when it comes to the moment, but the rest of the thoughts have vanished.
I am distracted by the grating voice of the flight attendant. The stale smell of smoke has mixed with something else. Dirty laundry? I peek at the hoodie covering the sleeping teen.
So, my brain has now decided to dance around, like tv channels when the cat steps on the remote. There is no hope for focus now. And once I land, there will be hugs and laughter and stories and love and other wonderful distractions.
I am suddenly delightfully content with all my unfinished business. Both on the page and in life. Because I at least remember the point.
I love you.