I am dreaming of being dropped off at the airport. I am dreaming of boarding a plane that will take me north. before I check in, I will stop at the newstand to buy an overpriced fashion magazine and some candy for the flight. I will fumble with the correct change and the cashier will smile vacantly at me. after I check in, I will sit with the others who are waiting. I will pretend to be bored and annoyed like everyone else, I will pretend to act like I hate airports and that I would rather be anyplace else but secretly, I love airports. everyone is going somewhere, everything is in motion and I find that ridiculously exciting. then again, I rarely fly anywhere so what do I know? still, I'll sit with my expertly packed carry-on and watch all the people until they call out the appropriate seat numbers. there will be the usual array of businessmen and older couples. there will be a girl in obnoxiously trendy clothing who will be on her cell phone. she won't care that everyone around her can hear her conversation. of course, there will be a woman traveling with a child (or two) and I will try to catch her eye and give her the secret motherhood nod. if I'm lucky, there will be some minor drama to witness or someone so engaging and odd that I'll have to stop and jot down the details. then it will be time to get on the plane and I will barely be able to contain my excitement. this will (no doubt) totally blow my cover as super-cool seasoned traveler but I won't care.
I'll sit next to the window because I always do. I always ask for a seat next to the window. it will be a packed flight but I am well versed in the ways of polite avoidance. I will bury myself in a book that I've already read seventeen times. I'll close my eyes and pretend to sleep but I'll be thinking of the people I love. I'll be thinking about the streets I'll be walking in just three short hours. occasionally, I'll look down at the patchwork of tiny houses and wonder where my home is in the context of it all. I'll take a photo of the clouds but it won't look just right. the flight attendant will offer me a beverage and I will gladly accept and request a diet coke. I will regret not asking for a regular coke. ice-cold coca cola is one of my guiltiest pleasures. at some point, I will use the pull-down lap tray because I love the pull-down lap tray. I will rummage through the carefully organized contents of my purse and pull out my moleskin and try to write something. but everything I write will sound corny and sad so I'll stop and go back to reading my book. or I'll read the useless articles in the magazine I bought and inwardly laugh at how stupid most celebrities are. this won't last long, this self-righteousness. I'll think of my own vanity and wonder why I feel the need to be so judgmental. as we prepare to land, I will eat the last of my candy and nervously apply lip gloss.
at la guardia airport, I'll meet my brother von at baggage claim. I will have forgotten to tell him that there will be no baggage to claim but it won't matter. it's as good a place as any to meet. when I first see him, I'll feel a little like crying. too much time spent apart and he will look older to me. he'll call me andy and we'll hug and then someone will make a joke. we'll contemplate taking the bus into the city but in the end, I'll decide to splurge on a cab. it will occur to me that I may later regret that decision. I will think of how that cash could've been blown at h&m or the fleamarket. it will feel good to sit in the back of that cab, though-- I will note random details of the interior as von and I make small talk. perhaps the seat will be ripped or the smell will be of something I'm unable to identify. we'll be jerked this way and that and as the city comes into view, my heart will sing and I will let out a long slow breath.
we'll tell the driver to drop us off somewhere around union square, with no particular plans in mind. the minute I step outside, my senses will come alive. the air will smell vaguely like garbage and roasted peanuts, sweet and sour and so familiar. I will be surrounded by people and sounds and something inside me will scream GO and I will feel intoxicated. we'll start walking south and talk for blocks and blocks and that will feel good. we'll buy cherry-dipped ice cream cones from the mister softee truck on the street. we'll sit and try to eat the cones before they drip all over the place and make our hands sticky. von will ask me what I want to do and I'll tell him, oh nothing... whatever, you know. there will be a slight pause in the conversation and I will retract that statement. all at once, the words will come tumbling out of me, everything I want to do and see and hear, everywhere I want to go. von will tell me about a couple of bars in brooklyn he wants to take me to. I'll tell him about a great performance at dance theater workshop that I want to see and will offer to buy his ticket so that I'll have someone to talk it over with afterwards. we'll remember the last time we went and we'll talk about how fantastic it was. I'll remember the name of the company (johnjasperse) but von won't. he'll go on to say that he'd never seen anything like that before and we'll talk for a while about the show-- about how uncomfortable it was to have the dancers performing on platforms located within (and practically on top of) the audience. I'll talk for way too long about modern dance and von will let me. then my eyes will glaze over at the thought of taking a class at dance new amsterdam. I will have already checked the schedule online and will tell von when my class is. again, I will go off on a tangent about dance, about how great the class will be, how much I've missed moving, how much I need this and again, he'll indulge me.
I'll mention something about just letting the weekend unfold. but could the unfolding please include a trip to the newly relocated 26th street fleamarket? could the unfolding also include a trip to h&m? to pearl river to buy goodies for ava and ezra? to the soho adidas to drool over new sneaks? to moto for dinner? and a trip to a photobooth somewhere? and a museum or gallery or two or three? and a movie? (I will already know what's playing at the angelika). I will ask if we can wander around the lower east side some as I will be dreaming of all the shots I will take. and we will sit there in silence, hands sticky from the mister softee ice cream cones. I will take wipes from my purse because I am a mom and moms always have wipes. von will laugh at this but it's true. and I'll realize that we won't even be able to come close to doing everything but that will be okay because I will have three days, three days to do whatever. and I will gladly take that, I will.
I won't think about how guilty I'll feel about wanting to have this time to myself. I won't think about how much I will miss them, about how I've never been away from ezra for more than 24 hours, about how badly ava wanted to come along and how she cried when I told her she couldn't make the trip. and I know it will be there, that uneasy feeling-- a combination of worry and fear and guilt. I'm pretending that I won't cry on the plane as it takes off, that I won't clench and unclench my fists over and over until I am calm. and right now, I'm not thinking about how deep down in this fog I am. I'm trying not to think about how sick I am of cleaning up messes, messes that never stop, monumental messes that keep regenerating like an amateur science experiment gone horribly wrong. I'm trying to forget the comment I made this morning about how mother's day should really be called maid's day. I'm trying not to worry about this child who has a horrible cold and feels unusually warm to me, who is nursing with sudden frequency and draining me of both milk and energy at alarming rates. I'm trying not to think about the weaning process and if I'm on track with it like I planned and all the various disciplinary methods and if I am spending enough quality time with my children. I'm trying not to think about how tired I am and I'm trying not to feel angry now that ezra is not digging our daily walks. the walks, they were my saving grace and it could be just a phase but today, I needed that walk. yesterday, the ez screamed at the top of his lungs for one whole block. that kind of screaming was one block too many for me, so no more walks for now. I'm trying to ignore the fact that it's lunch time and we are both still wearing our stinky pajamas, that ward and I had a terrible argument this morning and that my hair is the dirtiest it's been in a long time. I'm trying to pretend that this trip I am dreaming of will happen sometime in the near future but it probably won't. I'm trying to pretend I don't feel this deep down way that I do. but I do.