(written on 5.10.08)
I’m in row 13. The only flight attendants’ name I can remember is Maurice and every time I think about it, the catcall whistle from that Steve Miller song rings through my head.
Maurice walks like with hips that don’t move and careful steps concentrated on the balls of his feet. His hair is spiked and soft like a pocket Pomeranian and about the same color.
I’m on my way home. Mom is in the hospital again. This time, she’s lost 15 pounds and the cancer has spread to her liver. They’re trying to fatten her up. She’ll be put on the chemo she was on initially. Her body seemed to handle that a lot better than the pill form. I know I’m focusing on Maurice and his hair for sanity’s sake. Honestly, I’m numb from yesterday. Last night, instead of my regular prayers, I just stared up at the ceiling and said: “I don’t know what to say to you anymore.”
The world’s most nervous albino is sitting next to me. She’s pretending to read a book, but she jerks around or coughs abruptly about every 15 seconds. This should be especially fun as we’ve been told to expect significant turbulence during our flight. And here it comes...
It’s small, but it’s not a put-put plane. I’ve been on those too many times. It doesn’t give a passenger a whole lot of confidence when it sounds like they guys in the cockpit are trying to start a small lawnmower.
I’m always disappointed to see a row or floor #13. I love it when they’re missing. Not because I’m superstitious, but because a major corporate conglomerate was. Committees were formed, millions of dollars exchanged, thousands of papers drawn up and the removal of the unlucky number was a part of it. It’s charming and oddly comforting.
Oh, the cheese, I know, but, as someone who thinks speaking to her bedroom ceiling produces results, knowing that the construction of million dollar planes and buildings takes the number 13 that seriously, makes me feel slightly validated. And makes all that corporate steel and authority, human.
Did I mention that the albino is wearing white?
My friends were great yesterday and today. JB drove me to the airport this morning (thank you). Last night, after I sent out an email on the state of my mom, we all met up for dinner. There was no talk of my mom and I was happy for it. I had heard the news from my dad at 1pm, just as I was getting off the water taxi at the LaSalle bridge. I had made it halfway up the stairs to the street when Dad told me about her liver. I just stopped there, knowing I was going to cry, but trying to hold it in. Maybe I thought if I didn’t move, everything else would stop. I finally did cry, but the tears came in drawn out bursts, as if I was giving birth or trying to do a pullup. I only masked my voice a little as I talked to my dad.
He said goodbye without his usual signoff and I walked back to work trying not to sob until I was within reach of a box or two of Kleenex.