seatmate

29 Mar

I love traveling alone.  I am usually trailed by children who waddle behind me like ducklings and I am constantly coaxing them: “come on, come on, we have to hurry!”  “But I’m tired.  Can we –?” “no. we can’t.  Keep moving.”  “look – a candy store.  can we –?”  “Absolutely not.  eyes forward, troops.”

Any trip without a carseat and a stroller is a cakewalk compared to pushing my behemoth double stroller, a couple of carseats, two babies under two.  And while those days are behind me, and everybody’s trained to keep their eyes on me and walk along at a brisk trot, and Anna and Wade know they are responsible for making sure Henry gets with the program, it’s still stressful to travel with three.  Ask Kim about that time we nearly lost Anna at the Orlando airport coming home from Disney when her backpack got stuck in the doors of the station while the child wearing the backpack was on the train.  That was wild.  Can’t imagine it?  I can’t really describe it because I have blocked out a lot of memories of August 2009, including that one.

So there I was last week, traveling alone.  ipod, book, kindle, notebook (just in case something struck me and I needed to write it), socks for the long trip to Atlanta, a white wrap made of baby alpaca to hide the fact that I was listening to my ipod while the plane was taking off or landing.  (You just run the earbuds up through the wrap and no one can see that you are secretly tuned out).  I was looking forward to the solitude, but then I met my seatmate, Pamela (name changed so that you can never know whether this is true.  Not really.  Name changed to assure you all that if I tell your life story in my blog, I will change your name).

She offered me some gum right away and that made it difficult to ignore her and read and listen to my ipod, which I really wanted to do.  But she opened the door to a great conversation.  I asked her whether she lived in Dallas or Atlanta and she said Dallas  – that she was visiting someone in Atlanta.  “My boyfriend.  Maybe my fiance.  We are supposed to talk about it this weekend.”

I asked her how they had met and she said online.  On a website called “tag.”  Being a woman of color, she also liked one called blackconnection, and she said I should try it because it wasn’t just black people on there.  She was a really cute lady and had raised all her children to adulthood, and was finally ready to have a man in her life.  “I think this one might be my soulmate,” she said of Calvin (not his real name.  as far as you know.)

She was aware that internet dating is risky, though.  The last one she met online invited her to his apartment, and she was busy helping her daughter, who has five girls (can you imagine?), and so running late.  When she arrived, he answered the door “butt-nekkid” and grabbed her around the throat with his hands and pulled her into his apartment.  “I ought to beat the %*&$ out of you!” he screamed as he pulled her around his apartment by her neck.  He let her go and went back down the hall while continuing to scream and curse at her.   The holy spirit told her to keep quiet.  She had been watching the door, trying to see if he had locked it and once he turned his back, she grabbed that doorknob and ran out of there.  He was coming after her, but she ran until she was safely in her car and drove away.

He did have on some clothes, shorts, by the time he came running out after her.  I was trying to picture the scene and that was a vital detail.

But this Calvin?  He is a sergeant in the army and also works a civilian job.  he has one grown son and he sees about his mama, who also lives in Atlanta.  Pamela is pretty sure that he is the one because he loves God and Jesus and sees people for what is in their hearts.

I would have given anything to see her on my return trip, but there are so many flights from Atlanta to DFW that the odds were slim, and alas, she wasn’t on my airplane.  As I will never, never know the real ending, I think I will assume that she decided to stay in Atlanta, away from those children in Dallas who are always borrowing money from her and not paying her back, and moving into whatever apartment she is living in, and away from her boss who is separated from his wife and keeps on propositioning Pamela.  I hope that Calvin turns out to be her soulmate and not a butt-nekkid strangler who can’t tolerate changes to whatever plans he had that involved him being naked when company was expected. 

I’m pulling for you, Pamela.  We’re all in this together.

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2 Responses to “seatmate”

  1. Esmer March 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    I’m pulling for Pamela, too!

    • brightenthecorner March 29, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

      hey E, I just found a photo that I need to show you. Will bring to Austin.

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