We flew home on a smaller jet. There were only two seats on each side of an aisle that I swear was twelve inches wide. The ceiling height was absolutely claustrophobic. I wasn’t afflicted with that malady, thank goodness. Perry was bent in half and cursing as he approached his seat.
I looked forward to reading Mike’s novel. Perry and Tammy were seated way in the front. Business class. Ha. I jumped up and moved down the aisle so a very tall red headed woman (or was it a man in drag?) could get to her window seat. She thanked me and we strapped in.
Scott, the flight attendant asked us, “Are you willing and able to help evacuate the plane in case of emergency?”
We watched as he motioned to the emergency exit door next to the redhead. “Yes.” we said in unison.
I squinted past her and tried to figure out the diagram for door removal. I asked red, “How are we supposed to pull the door into us in this tiny space?”
She studied it and said, “Oh, we pull it in and then throw it out.”
“Okay.” I peeled the foil and paper from my half roll of Cinnamon Mentos. I offered her one.
She accepted. “Thanks.”
I felt warm and fuzzy because a stranger accepted candy from me. She trusted it wasn’t poisoned. I wonder if my own siblings would trust me. Never mind, Perry would eat anything.”
She said, “This is my first flight since nine-eleven. I was there. Four blocks away.”
Okay, so I scooted my purse farther under the seat in front of me. I wasn’t going to get to read. But I did have what appeared to be a nice lady who was interested in conversing with brain damaged Donna. I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip away.
I listened and reassured her and asked questions. People like to talk about themselves. It’s a universal thing. If you can speak the language, or better yet, listen to the language, then you have a friend for a moment. As lonely as my life has been lately, a moment is something I’ll treasure.
Her name was Louise and she told me what it was like watching out her office window. The blackness. Then the second tower fell. They made their way to the lobby and then hurried from building to building, making their way to the water to escape to New Jersey.
She said when they came back a week later, the sight was surreal. She has a photo journal she kept, as they were bussed to their building each day. She said they could tell when the rescuers came upon a large mass of bodies. A distinctive odor of death.