I knew it was mad before I left. A one way ticket to visit a boy I'd spent less than 48 hours with? Oh yes, quite mad. Especially when the destination was states away, and I would not be able to get back home for at least a month. Take a deep breath and go. That was the plan, and it was precisely what I did.
I was surprised to find the parental figures consenting. Overprotective, I expected some resistance. There was none. The mother has always let me do whatever I pleased. I think the father and the grandmother both assume I'm smarter than them, and left me alone on that count. This was just as well.
The airport gave me tickets printed on paper, which struck me as singularly odd. The security had been beefed up, I had to take off my mary janes to pass through the metal detector. A security guard stopped me as I veritably skipped through the machine, 'Don't run through!' he said. I turned around and looked up to the big black man's eyes, my face guilty as a reprimanded child's. 'You're through here,' he said. I guess he figured a terrorist wouldn't be wearing a bright red fifties dress, even if my running was suspicious.
I walked to my terminal, hopping from patterned square to patterned square on the carpet. Humming to myself while thinking about all the times I walked through these same corridors as a child. I have more memories associated with certain airports than I do with any single house, and this one was my childhood home.
Found my terminal, spread out my dress and plopped down into a chair. Read some of Italo Calvino's The Baron in the Trees and drew an image of the 'BAGGAG CLAIM' sign on the wall as I waited. Boarding. Plane trip. Landing. But this was just Atlanta.
I spent the time between flights writing about the things I thought about on the plane and reading more. The thoughts were as follows:
'All houses look the same from a few thousand miles away. Colour distinctions fade, the shapes and sizes become identical. The homes themselves could be mistaken for parked cars seen from a buildingtop. People are much the same, I think, from a distance. The consistent shapes and desires provide an illusion of sameness before one draws nearer. Conversely, or similarly perhaps, uniforms, the institution of imposed sameness and conformity is an effort to distance the imposer from the put-upon, while simplifying their view of a number of people. Nuance is highly underrated.'
This is how I write when no one is looking. Part of me suspects I'll delete it before pressing the 'done!' button. We'll see how brave I am.
Killed time, was dazzled by the efficiency of the lady at the counter. I'd barely asked if I was right in coming up when she handed me precisely what I needed. My eyes lit up and I thanked her in the most delighted tone of voice imaginable. She made me a happy little camper.
Boarding. Plane flight. A man moved from the seat in front of me to sit next to me, 'You're smaller than he is.' And I suppose that made enough sense. Small talk about the book I was reading and destinations before landing once again.
Was distracted by a hide pin on his jacket--I hadn't gotten used to looking up yet--and babbled breathlessly. Baggage. Walked to the car and marvelled over an old man we passed who was singing to himself. I'd never seen anyone but me do that, and found it delightful. The recently mended strap on my dress came undone as I got into the car. We kissed when he got in. (That actually hurts to type. You think you're over a person, and then you remember little things like that.) Drove to his place listening to Elvis Costello and flying through the trees outside of my window.
(Now that I've gotten all of that down, perhaps my brain will allow me to sleep.)
June 16, 2004.