on a jet plane

Curbside, I kissed Michael goodbye. I’d be back in a week and my nose stung thinking of how much I’d miss my boys—Calvin, Michael, Rudy the dog.

At the Jetport a woman’s habitual hacking cough unnerved me. A tiny baby in his mother’s arms cried, “Mama,” and I thought of how Calvin only said that once. I flew Portland to DC where I made sure to thank the man in dreads and an orange and silver vest for unloading the bags. He thanked me with a big, broad smile while other, serious passengers filed on past grabbing their gear and rushing on. 

On the flight to San Diego I sat in a window seat too cramped to open my laptop completely. I ate a dry Thai Chicken wrap that cost me nine dollars and I dripped Asian aioli on my lap from a little, shiny black plastic pouch. For five hours I read a bit, wrote a bit, snoozed a bit, watched bits of films without sound and tried not to think of the movie Flight that we’d seen over the weekend.

Once in San Diego I rented a car using new technology—a kiosk with a live agent assisting me on the other end of a phone line. I scanned and swiped my credit card and license and within minutes I was driving away in a blue Jetta. They must have given me an upgrade.

When I pulled into my brother’s drive I smelled the sweet scent of mock orange. It reminded me of the star jasmine that blooms seemingly forever in San Francisco. The air was slightly damp and on it I could taste sea salt from the harbor down the hill. This is enough to want to move back to California, I thought, the seduction of California’s early spring fragrances so very hard to resist. And to think some hours before I’d left behind eight inches of heavy snow on sagging branches.

I woke again to barking seals, as I did in September, a sound I seem to always mistake for Calvin’s seizure cries, confused as to where I am. Later, a flock of green parakeets soared past and woke me again, then realizing I am three thousand miles away from what is now my home, away from my wonderful boys.

But, in a few hours when she wakes up, I’ll be seeing my mother. We'll hug and kiss and take long walks in the warm California sun.

photo by Michael Kolster

1 comment:

  1. It's so good to know that you're not far away from me, sister. I hope your visit with your mother is a peaceful one and that you get some rest and relaxation.