Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” played while we sat under the stars taking in the infinite possibilities. It was 2:00 in morning when she woke me because she couldn’t sleep. I’d spent my first night at the resort alone and was happy to oblige despite the sleep in my eyes. We went to bed early that night and our bodies twitched like exhausted short circuits. We hadn’t discussed what happened the day before prior to falling asleep.
We walked out towards the beach and the sound of music and rows of multicolored lights. The music called us causing us to pick up our pace. The Oceanside-bar was dimly lit and a few dancing stragglers remained on the dance floor. We watched the other couples from a distance. Girls with girls who looked liked under developed boys, a mature women and a heavy-set young lady with an innocent face, a butch with a feminine type, a sporty long haired girl linked with sporty short haired leathered skin lady, a plump girl grinding with a scrawny chic with inked up arms. The stereotypes were abundant and everyone filled a role. She pulled me into her by a gentle tug on my wrist. “Let’s dance. Just us. Right here.” “OK, love.” I looked at hard and smiled.
Her skin was soft and her touch was light. She felt warm to me; the music drowned under the waves, and the lights surrendered to the richness of the sky. Nothing else mattered. Not my thoughts of dying in a plane crash and leaving my children to her and Jack, not my thoughts of losing her to a 747 sinking in the ocean, all of it disappeared. My body went heavy against hers, and then relaxed. I needed support as my weight shifted from anxious uncertainty, to a peaceful reprieve. I didn’t die, and nor did she, and our bodies pressed in to each other with the knowledge of it.
The day before we were severed from our linked arms, cut off at the gate during the boarding process. I boarded the plane without her. The empty seat next to me was supposed to be hers but instead a wedding dress of a new bride sat in her place. I sent her a few quick texts before the announcements. “See if Air Tran can put you on another flight today with a different airline.” I’m not mad love, I love you.”
Before we took off I watched the isle in anticipation sure at any moment she would come walking towards me. The wheels went up and my hopes disappeared. I envied the couple on the other side of me playing scrabble on their I-pad. I sized them up assuming they were from the Midwest by their hairstyle and slower game pace than my East coast intensity. I was spot on, and just as rude when the woman next to me crossed my “I’m reading a book” boundary. “I hate to bother you, but could you tell me more about your bracelet? In my head, “Don’t you see the book in my hand and eyes on the page? You don’t “hate to bother me” you know I’m reading and haven’t looked up once as to engage you in conversation.” Out loud, but mumbling as deterrence, I said, “It’s some type of energy bracelet a client gave me.” I barely looked up, hoping she’d get the message. She didn’t. “Oh, does it work? I mean have you noticed a difference.” I don’t know, maybe. I guess anyone can feel like they have more energy if they really believe it.” I lifted my left eyebrow and gave her a toothless smile. Her eyes faded and her brain registered, she knew I wanted to be left alone. “Thank you, I’ll let you get back to your book.” I was already there.
I had to keep my mind busy. I was preoccupied and overwhelmed with thoughts of death, and dying, my karma, and the plane crashes of 9-11. “Let’s roll!” “Was I going down that way too? Why wasn’t she supposed to be on this flight with me? What’s the lesson? Why were people traveling without their loved ones, and why were some flying together? Some passengers were bumped to different flights, and a few others flew standby on the downed flights. And what about the people who missed their flights that day? Why them? I couldn’t help but go there in my mind. There’s never enough goodbyes, no hug that’s long enough, no I love you that can ever make up for not seeing your family again.” My picnic basket of unsettling thoughts was spilling over.
As the flight approached the Dominican Republic, the turbulence bounced us around a little before we landed. We exited the plane right there on the runway instead of through a tunnel and into a terminal. I was welcomed by hot sun and tropical air, but my first thought as I stepped out into it was, I’m in a foreign country alone, what should I do? Follow the masses?” I followed the crowd for a few hundred yards until I realized that they passed an important looking door. I left the crowd and headed for the pavilion area instead. I got lucky, bingo, customs. I was the first person in line and through the human-cattle-pusher. I didn’t have any checked bags, a fucking miracle and first for my –love-of product and travel with my own sheet ways-thereby by passing the baggage claim. I forged ahead looking for a sign. I bypassed the guys trying to load my bag for a tip and followed the exit sign. Alas, I saw a tiny blonde holding up a sign, “OLIVIA,” the all female travel group we were traveling with. She pointed me in the direction of the bus. I stepped up with an “I’ve made it!” attitude.
The bus ride from the airport to the resort didn’t take long, however the lines to check-in were beyond my realm of patience. I had a day bag packed and decided to change into my bathing suit and hang out by the pool for a while instead of wasting time in line. I asked around for the bathroom and put my bag on the counter to dig around for my suit. I heard someone behind me shout, “Oh, lord, look who it is!” I turned around and there stood one half of the other couple we were meeting. I was so relieved I could’ve cried. I called her by knick-name, “Urmommer, you’re never going to believe this, but Susan isn’t here.” What?” I went into the story, and I’ll fill you in next time. Ding-dong