The Longing Place by Heidi Robertson 6/2013
Always the longing for that distant happy place of joy and peace. Will I find it in a booked flight, or on a summer night? Will I find it……..among so many other faces and places of business, the speed way, gate 17B? Doubtful. Maybe.
We play the human experiment, counting how many smiles on peoples’ faces. Three or four, most are on the phone or some device. Makes me wonder if these few smiles are other person caused or artificially generated, medicated, Carton Networked, Cha Cha robots giving call center advice, or a stem cell liver saving life. We have altered the human race in the racing and embracing of technology.
He is attractive, but does not like Toms Cinamint toothpaste. The officer with an Alqueda name who gives the choice to throw away. It’s not a choice, but choose to keep the toothbrush in the brushoff. I want to brush my teeth, but he won’t let me squeeze the lemon, so I am gifting him bad breath and worse word choice. This leaves a bad taste in my mouth and freedom’s lost again in my America.
I’m not down for the gloved pat down. Concede to another lose lose and move on to other subtle Yellow Stars. Will I sleep better later, knowing I am safe from terror far away, but feeling I was somehow violated close to home. USA, where Southwest Airline crews check into swanky downtown Sheratons and all is right for someone else who has the wings and means. Wonder how children sleep in Gela, Sicily? In their poverty.
Sleep comes begrudgingly and goes again…Outbound. Consciousness cuts, like opening a camera shutter. The aperture lets light in. I roll over, like a tortilla in a warming oven, and morning comes to Peoria as someone lifts the steamer lid. Feels like the lone star state, and me the lone star. Fans stir the air, but don’t cool it. Making whipped cream would be futile. The air sits heavy on sinuses and lungs, crammed in the middle seat of a full flight from SLC. The preacher has a hairy arm that falls upon my thigh as he sits sleeping. Strange intimacy. He is in the longing place.
Only hours ago I leaned forward, head in hands, against the upright tray position, imagining I were home, seeking some relief where I am free to move about the cabin, don’t have to wait for seat repairs, delay of flights, or thank the maintenance man who wriggles through a trail of sweaty boarders. My thoughts fly to the apple tree… limbs outstretched, arms beckoning, the sound of music wind chiming my name, cool canyon breeze stroking my face. Where I can see my breath and hoses bath Croc-ed feet among the flowers. I am in the longing place.
This helps to take away the change in cabin pressure, and for a moment I am not between a Catholic Newspaper man vacationing in Tahoe, and Worldly Ambassador to Luge committees spouting stories of childrens’ world travels, regretting neglect, and checking on a second home. For a brief moment conversation turns to check the chemicals in his Phoenix pool, and I find myself breaking into a chorus of “I love Paris in the springtime…….” as I turn attention to the little evidence of laughter and happy energy in this Southwest Tupperware container. Lifting the lid to burp the safe keeper, two young teens erupt in happy unbelief when given a huge left over bag of airline peanuts. The flight attendant smiles with liberal ease and I hold the moment willing the energy to tip fifty one percent to me? It tips in knowing I have listened pretty well. Perhaps I’ve ushered another to the longing place, if only for a moment.