On the plane today, an off-duty US Air pilot deadheading a ride back to Boston engaged me/us for an impromptu across-the-aisle chat. He’d slept most of the hour and a half flight up from Charlotte, NC, but suddenly roused as we were making that final, swooping approach into Logan, and wanted some human company,preferably adult. The bouncing and wary-eyed four-year-old in the window seat next to him,and the kid’s exhausted handler, a grandmotherly black woman slumped silently between, had nothing to say to the tall, sandy-haired pilot, so he turned across to us. An empty cup of microwave chicken noodle soup sat on his tray table, the detritus of a strange in-flight food product that some of the ghetto fliers around us in the plane’s ass end openly coveted. They sat in tight-lipped pairs, like gazelles ears up for hyenas, nervously fingering their complementary cokes and spring water, dreaming of the good old days of air travel, the lost language of pretzels and beef stroganoff.

“What part of Massachusett’s you from?” The  gangling, jovial skybus driver probably recognized the familiar island logo on my navy blue baseball hat, an arching  scimitar stitched on the brim in that rarified pink shade known as “Nantucket Red”. I abbreviated our long-distance love affair for him, the commuting bi-coastal life we lead, leaving out the jail part, for simplicity,  a cautionary fiction that usually elicits  a look of blank comprehension from the casuals, flecked with that charmingly evangelical devotion for the romantic long-shot by the empaths playing in the  lonelyhearts club band. He nodded blankly, but gazed past my shoulder at the girl, that would be you, studying an Outdoor magazine piece on body mass index, caloric matrix and the cracker jacks prize of weight loss, which you don’t really need, not really. Another polite fiction, a girlie thing. You have great legs, an amazing ass, tits that are perfectly just-big-enough, and a gorgeous smile, but obsess on your tiny Buddha belly that ebbs and flows,  like the Bay of Fundy, a soft cuddle pillow between navel and pubis most likely inherited from your smoked-herring-eating Scotch ancestors, and  a Germanic polka hall sausage gut, but mostly in direct proportion to covert excursions into the doomed culinary dystopia of Cool Whip and Carbohydrate Land. You have what you cannot see, and other women covet. A wonderfully preserved fifty three year old body; taut here, pliant there, that’s kicked an entire baby from it’s perfect proportioned cunt, drunk its liver nearly to the mat, and broken more bones than an NFL lineman.

Our backseat captain was very much drunk. On his own private final approach; or death spiral. Up go the flaps, down go the wheels. As he rambled on about a side business he had up in New Hampshire, something called a ‘cold stone creamery’, you glanced up, asked him how much of  a pay cut he’d taken this year. (Down from $150,000 to $85,000-poor, poor darling!) He got defensive when you nudged him to explain US Air’s $25 baggage charge atrocity, mumbled on about maintenance costs versus ticket prices, and fell apart, utterly unconvincing, by riff’s end. Captain windbag; a volatile blend of aviation fuel and seagull farts. I looked into his Golden Retriever eyes, blowzy pupils the color of the sand and the sea, counting scant blessings you no longer imbibe the hard stuff, (and you’re working on the Cool Whip and carbs), reciting our heavenly rosary he wasn’t on the flight deck today, this sad,talkative, obviously shittyfaced pilot deadheading it back to New Hampshire, one Margarita away from nosediving our crowded Calcutta slum of a a jet plane back to that hard, hard ground.

This morning I heard our love fall from the heavens. Its feathers beat wildly against the hot and muggy updrafts. Like some maniacal Elmer Fudd, it was me that pulled the trigger, and now, miles away from the accident scene, if I keep myself absolutely still, and listen to nothing else, I can hear it’s desperate, keening distress cry. We stand in the pre-dawn kitchen, listening as the seconds shred by. Go and do your drama somewhere else, you say, I can’t do this anymore. The thought of what this means; fabricating more drama for complete strangers, not the one who knows me so completely, as in even the icky bedroom colors that some irritable house-painter of a former spouse has splattered all over my soul, opens up the waterworks. Tears, real salt, cheek-burning mortification.  I’ve completely lost the thread of this tuneless melody we call life; lost it cuz the vandals stole the handle, and the weatherman has lied once more about the relative dew point falling on our perfectly buffed penny loafers.

My rant is a pure rant. Pure fantasy. Pure psychic extrapolation. Pure bullshit. The script is a complex plot involving another man, an influential member of the media, the kind of manI know you hanker for more than the one you’re stuck with, and a purloined text message, which I purloined while you lay sleeping. All shit, shit, and more shit. Through the glass darkly. I remember a line from the movie Woodstock, when a young flower child, a suburban runaway Lolita, in that slow, methodical pharmacologically induced drawl of weed, whites and wine, hair-twirls this infinitely deep quiery into filmmaker  Michael Wadleigh’s 16 milimeter eyeball: “If jealousy is red, and envy is green, what color is…?” I can’t remember the third. Only the first two matter. And then it doesn’t matter. That I’m feeling crazy. In love. Subsumed by fear. Immoliated like a Vietnamese monk. Threats, some real, mostly not, but most as laughable as W’s Iraqi WMDs that got thousands of American kids blowed up, burned up, and bullet shot. Mine is less than a war, but a tempest in a teapot can scald your fingers just as much. You move into my arms, drawn by the tears, I suppose, or the distress call of the yellowbellied sapsucker. Crazy, I whisper to your ear. I’m late and have to catch the ferry. Work. Money. The time/space continuum. Shit, shit and triple shit. Later, on the phone, across those dreary schizophrenic miles that seem to stitch our life together, you say, “Listen, I went to jail for being crazy. That’s crazy.” I smile. You get me. I don’t get me. Sometime, someday, maybe. Not now. This moment is reserved for confusion. Water to a high, shreiking boil. That same question. If envy is green, and jealousy is red…?

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