4A is my seat for the next three hours and forty-three minutes. I fold myself in, next to the window.
It’s daytime when the plane leaves Austin but night creeps in, quietly, and soon I’ll be staring through the black oval of the window at thin air, night clouds, electric orange grids, way below, on the ground.
I have 53 New Order songs repeating on my iPod and they loop through my ears while my mind wanders. I think about people, some I’ve just met and some I’ve known forever. People I fly towards and people I fly away from and people I hope to see again. The ones I know inside out and the ones I hardly know but am curious about.
The woman in 4C has a brassy voice. Long Island. She makes a phone call while we’re still on the runway. "It’s an all-woman crew. Flight attendants, pilots, everyone. I checked." She pauses and listens. "Well, they got the plane here. Okay, gotta go."
Her daughter laughs, "You're sexist."
The woman is pretty and thin with long light brown hair and her teenage daughter has brunette hair grown out to her waist. Their features are delicate and tanned and I imagine they buy hundred-dollar moisturizer and raise horses and go sailing and have a second house in the Hamptons.
The woman can’t get the television in her seat to work and is all, "Oh NO, I CANNOT sit here," and her daughter is rolling her eyes. The woman grabs the flight attendant who says she may need to move to another seat to watch television.
The woman eyes the empty seat between us, on my side of the aisle, and I hang my elbow over the armrest and stretch my legs out.
Honey, you don’t want to sit with me. I feel meditative but I'll turn bitchy because your voice makes me want to rip my ears off my head and shove them in your mouth. I pull the empty seat’s tray out and order wine, taking up space. She leaves me alone.