Sunday, June 12, 2011

Changes to the Itinerary.

If he doesn’t stop talking I may need to hit the call button and summon the bottle-blonde flight attendant. So that I can talk to her about air sickness, stomach gas and things like that. Because at this point, it is the only thing that I can think of to make him stop.

Except that 10 minutes ago she was standing right here charging his card for two glasses of wine. Asking if his friend – me – is a “tax write off.”

If I hadn’t already been beaten down by a thunderstorm, 10 interviews and an unexpected series of glitches at the airport, I would have tossed a smart “I love that shade of red – but isn’t a bit young for you?” right back. But I am just too damn tired and the best revenge I can think of is to hit the call button over and over and over and over again for the remaining 45 minutes of this flight.

For as long as my children can remember, Mommy’s job has been a busy one. What she does, they aren’t quite sure but they know that it involves far too much time on a laptop, blackberry and airplanes. It has invaded our vacations and holidays, performances and games, sick days and story time. But we’ve recently had a nice vacation from the busy-ness of business so trading in flip flops for stilettos jarred all of us. They didn’t mind me going.

But they wanted me home by Friday.

Since my husband died I have missed and arrived late for everything, something no amount of hugs and kisses can fix. Which is why when the ticket agent smiled understandingly and said “that’s because your reservation is for tomorrow” when I tried to check in and couldn’t find my reservation, I gritted my teeth while he charged my card for a full-price, one-way ticket.  On an airline I don’t particularly like, on a flight arriving more than an hour later than I had promised, and requiring a change of planes in the middle. Which then was delayed for another hour … and a half.

He started before we even taxied down the runway. In the first hour, I heard all about the ex-wife and the current one, the good son and the ungrateful one he had tossed out. The companies he had worked for, his occasional foray into poetry and his love of wine. And then he said it.

“So, what happened to your ex?”

“Actually, I am a widow.”

Telling people you are a widow is not easy and I have found that it usually stops a conversation. Dead. No one knows what to say. Except today. And while he has talked, my body has been slowly and painfully filling up with air as the plane goes through varying levels of pressurization. In the past 36 hours I’ve been ogled, patted, soaked, air dried and verbally probed. And now I am inflating, which means that I will be painfully deflating at some point in the near future. Throwing the contents of the flimsy plastic glass back, I look up at the call button.

Excuse me, ma’am. This tax write-off needs a refill. With a side of Xanax and Beano.  

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