Yesterday seemed doomed to go down in history for our heroine as the longest day (conceded by the morning gobbling up one precious hour in favor of Sunday coming sooner that it ought).
It could have been waking up at five a.m. but really that’s almost a monthly ritual. Perhaps it had something to do with a two and a half hour layover in Denver because of inclement weather at Laguardia. But no, we found her sitting patiently reading notes from her mentor, revising poems and finishing up the poems from the Europe section of the anthology of world poetry. Having boarded the plane and set out a spell on the tarmac, it could have been the announcement that they would have to wait another hour and a half in the middle of the tarmac. Her seat began to feel fettered. The Middle East poems of war and exile did little to soothe and abate the growing restlessness. She stood up and paced, calling New York; she would be very late. And then came a guy called Bill*. Now Bill had had a few drinks before boarding Flt. 589. And he felt compelled to share with the flight attendants the nicotine craving running up and down his spine like a manic overtone of voice and thrum of fingers drumming. He refused to give up his independently claimed emergency exit seat, thus terrifying Patricia* a seat over. Our heroine stood next to the emergency exit door, on the phone with New York, hip extended out, blocking any possible attempt at escape from Mr. Erratic. He really terrified the purser, when he almost threw a punch at his face before playing nice and walking back to his seat at the end of the plane. Purser and flight attendants mulled. The captain came on the air, announcing they would need to go back to the gate to refuel. And thus the police officer was given access to escort Bill* and friend off the plane, drunk and denied access from a previous flight.
Once in the air, all stabilized- or did it? Our heroine saw the edge of the wing nearly nip the corner of a Home Depot roof, as the winds tugged at what could have been a child’s toy. Landing at last in New York, news broke out that a power outage had darkened the terminal into which they flew. And so she walked in darkness, as TSA agents held flashlights, stood like silent sentinels. In the taxi line, the agent motioned her to a taxi that refused her access thinking she had jumped the line. Her inner New Yorker had been summoned and the yelling commenced until a cabbie relented. Once safely ensconced inside his cab she could laugh with him about the day’s events and discuss how language reveals links in culture, his Pakistani accent corresponding with her rolled R in “gracias.”
And the night had settled in for a quiet Saturday, even in Times Square where lights, horns and the sound of breathing screamed into the crisp night winds. Almost there, as our heroine checked in, she was told she only had a reservation for two nights. And out again came the politer but aggressively edged inner New Yorker demanding a solution (with a smile of course). The front desk manager problem solved as our heroine expected she might. It is the hospitality industry afterall. And the evening ended in a corner suite surrounded by pillows and bed that at last accepted her whole, heard her story and took away all the rough edges with their rounded forms.