One day I had completed roughly 17 hours of the 26 hours it takes me to get to my beautiful Mother's house. I was in LAX, having left the international terminal for the domestic one. My two gorgeous girls must have been about seven and three years old, and I think they were both asleep as we came in to land. So they were wearing PJ's. In the middle of the day in the middle of the airport.
What with landing and waking them up and gathering all our stuff and being slowly but inexorably swept out of the plane and through immigration and customs I had not yet had a chance to change them into the undoubtedly cute and matching outfits they always wore at that age. And they were still young enough to think it was OK to traipse through foreign airports in flannel.
And then, from a coffee shop I heard my name. MY NAME. No doubt about it. My name is unusual enough, so I was sure it was me this person had called. But I had not lived in America for maybe a decade and a half. I had never lived in LA. I knew approximately two people from college who had moved to California. Who would be calling my name?
It was my long-lost cousin Tracy (before you think badly of our family loyalty, this was way before email). She said that she had noticed two cute girls in jammies and then me following them. We had not seen each other in absolutely years and years. Last I had heard she was married in Texas. I asked what she was doing in LAX.
She told me she had been visiting her boyfriend and her marriage was over and she was moving to California and she had left her church and she was a computer person. For me it was as if the Earth had shifted on its axis. Nothing was as I expected and I was a little dazed. (Travel with two small children is enough to do that alone, I'll admit.)
When I went to the counter to see if we could get on the same flight I couldn't even remember her name. For the longest time I had the ground crew searching the manifest for her maiden name. I had been to her wedding, of course, and knew her as a married woman, but was just a little lost.
So, on the plane we sat together and caught up with one another's lives. She hadn't met my younger daughter, and I heard the news of her girl.
Oddly, we each had one of our grandmother's rings. I had mine on my finger, as always, and she had hers tucked in her bag. But what struck me most about her was her choice of reading material for the flight. I tend to read trash on flights, something easy and light to keep my mind off the impossibility of me and a plane and trolleys of food and toilets flying through the air. Books that make me laugh uncontrollably and embarrassingly.
But my incredibly clever and cultured and interesting cousin carried two books for her flight. One was about chess moves and one was an art appreciation book. Both compact sized, really intellectual books. I was so impressed. She's always been wonderful.
Izzy has discussed in-flight reading already. What do you read during flights?