Monday, March 28, 2011

Stranded with the Angel - December 2010

Part 2 of 2 (Read the first part here.)



Did it happen again?

Nearly a year after being stranded with an angel, I find myself stranded in another airport due to weather. In the Cincinnati Airport I am dangled with the hope of possibly not having to stay over night at the airport.
            
Calmly waiting in stand by in my re-routed flight is when I first saw her. In a brush Red jacket and taller than one would need, she walked to my gate. As another possible stand by she waited in patience. But something threw me: eye contact. Not just “I’m skimming the room and our eyes connected” eye contact. I mean EYE CONTACT. The kind you think you get when you are watching a ballet show or standing at a subway platform.
            
What struck me as unusual was when I first saw her in full I could have sworn she was Tia Mowery. Now of course she could have very well have been Tamera Mowery, but my mistake is semantics (really). With her primly quaffed curly hair that bounces with her creamy mocha skin I couldn’t have been wrong. But I was. And even knowing that didn’t diminish her beauty.
            
I left the gate after my chance of getting on the flight was gone. I moved to the next hopeful gate and waited. Sure enough she walked by. And God damn him if there wasn’t some eye contact. Even if it was a cowardly glance on my part, fleeting eye contact is eye contact nonetheless. She walked passed me and I sat there watching the football game (Bears, Jets), but really waiting for her to come back my way.
            
As time passed I decided to go to the bathroom and walk around. As I walked I spotted her reading a book at the Max and Erma’s Café. She didn’t see me and I continued to walk. I walked and even saw Rob Drydek. But even a semi MTV celebrity who’s clearly hiding from people didn’t excite me. OK, maybe a little bit, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Tia/Tamera.
            
I walked back and glanced into Max’s and sure enough she saw me. I tried to play it as if I didn’t see her and wasn’t seeking her out, but again I forget I’m not in a video game where people aren’t programmed to give you the benefit of the doubt when you fuck up.
            
I sat back down at the gate, watching football, waiting for the flight before mine to leave so I could speak with the service attendant. Once the flight was boarded I went up to ask the attendant about the next flight. She said, “You should generally wait 5 minutes until the flight has left to talk about the next flight.” I nodded and instinctively looked away so in my mind I could roll my eyes. But when I did I saw her, sitting there facing the opposite direction of where I was sitting. My heart began to thunk.
            
I got my stand by ticket and walked back to my seat. I almost missed where I sat I was so preoccupied with looking cool for Tia/Tamera. I sat down and she kept reading. But unlike the brunette the year before, she was a looker. Constantly glancing up.
            
She was stunning up close. Her grey sweater underneath her red jacket accentuated her soft appeal. And then she yawned. Dear God, things couldn’t have seemed more effortless. The arm in the air, the clenched fists. She was tired. She playfully rested her head on her luggage, but didn’t keep the position. To uncomfortable, clearly. With your back arched like that there’s no way you could focus on your sleep.

Instead she laid back and dozed off. Helpless for another eye contact I glanced at her. Eyes still closed.

Glanced again.

Still closed.
Glanced.

Closed.

But there was a felling I had when I glanced at her. Like she wasn’t really dozing off. Like she was just seeing through her partially closed eye. It’s a great technique, often fooling parents and theater audiences alike into thinking you are really sleeping.

So I thought I’d take a picture of her. What? For some reason I needed to capture this moment. Having already lost a roll of film to technical issues with my camera, I was a little reluctant.

But I had to.

I pulled out my camera and looked at it, as if to show the other people at the gate that I was just examining it. Then I put the viewfinder to my eye, but didn’t snap a photo. Again I created the illusion that I was just examining it. “Just making sure this camera works, OK?” was what my actions implied as subtly as a canon firing.

Then I snapped a photo. 



Now my camera is super quiet. But even this quiet camera, the shutter opening and closing was like a loud, but to the point, wet fart. I blushed internally as my insides turned to pie filling. I repeated the “examination” technique again and took another photo, thinking the first one wasn’t A) focused B) bright enough. 



I quickly put my camera back in my bag and breathed. But as time passed the fooling, seemed to be genuine sleep. As did the growing need to go to the bathroom. I ventured to the bathroom faster than was decent, having learned of the mistakes of the past, I arrived back with the sleeping beauty, still sleeping.

In an effort to become instantly mature and rational, I proceeded to forget her. Not worried about her awakening I focused on the riveting Packer vs. Giants game. Of course every now and then I glanced, but only in an effort to hone the skill of CIA observational reconnaissance.

I will admit she awoken a couple of time to loud noises, at which point I glanced at her for merely a second. Definitely fast enough for her not to notice.

Fairly positive at this point that we were trying to get on the same flight, I didn’t panic when she left. Thinking she was hungry and needed nourishment from her rest, I was quite calm.


****

 Soon after the flight began boarding, I discovered I would have a seat. I boarded the plane well after Tia/Tamera had boarded. Her seat was in the middle while mine was literally in the back. I walked down the isle and I swear, that I did not glance. Maybe it was my cowardice, built up so much over the years that it allowed me to confidently walk past her without a needing look. More than likely my inability to truly take a chance on something that at worst would be a cold shoulder, won out. I’ve spent years rationalizing that inability.

Wasn’t the right time. Interested in another girl who isn’t into me. It’s cold outside. She didn’t say, “I want you.” You hardly know her. You know her to well. You know her friends to well. What if she hits you? What if she rejects you? What if she rejects you, but once liked you? What if she doesn’t like black guys? What if she doesn’t like guys? What if she thinks your birthmark is gross? What if she has a boyfriend/husband? What if she just broke up with a boyfriend/husband. (And that’s just in a 20 second window.)

To be fair that inability is crippling for most people and yet…at this moment I was OK.

In preparation for take off, the lights were turned off. This led to people turning on their reading lights. Some turned them on, but many couldn’t. Including Tia/Tamera. I looked forward seeing her struggle when the man sitting next to her reached his hand up and tried to help her. They spoke for two-three lines (judging by head turning) and almost immediately I became jealous. How? I don’t know.

The flight was short, which was good. We landed and naturally we parted ways. Nothing really could have happened. And when something does happen, it’s in the movies. Which are fake. But they convey a desire that we all want to make real in our own lives. Why can't we have the storybook romance based on pure chance?



It’s easy to convince myself that nothing would/could/should of happened, but I can’t help thinking, “What if something did?” What if...

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