I am 20 miles away from the salt lake city library,but I might as well be 20,000 miles away. Charlie and I are sitting in the Salt Lake City airport, waiting for our connecting flight back to Boston. I stare at the rain which trickles down the thick airport windows while Charlie flips the pages of a random magazine. We had been invited by Charlie’s brothers to spend a week with them in California, and now we are flying back from our family infused vacation. I usually enjoyed Statten brother get-togethers because his brothers were always laughing and joking, and Sam’s wife, Marissa, felt it was her personal goal to make our souls feel invigorated. Her medicine of choice for this task was fudge covered in icing. However, this trip, which started out enjoyable, left me feeling unnerved.
On the third day of our trip, I was sitting in the living room watching Al’s daughter yank out Barbie heads for the gruesome game dubbed bowling for Barbie’s body, while the rest of the family members were scattered somewhere in the house. All of the sudden Al, who had somehow crept into the living room, sat down on the couch next to me.
“What’s wrong Ann,” he asked.
“Nothing, why do you ask.”
“ I dunno, you just kind of seem preoccupied this trip.”
I wondered if Al, who is no stranger to extramarital affairs, could sense my desire to start a full-blown affair. The way wolves can smell if another wolf is nearby.
“Why do you think I’m preoccupied,” I asked.
“Well for one thing, when we play bowling for Barbie’s body, you usually complain about how demonic this game is.”
“Perhaps I am just used to it,” I replied. I tried to keep my voice light and jovial, but I must have done a bad job to hide my irritation because Al said, “listen Ann, I’m sorry I asked. I must be imagining things. Perhaps some of those drugs I almost overdosed with never left my system. So who do you think will win tonight’s barbie bowling competition?”
“The kid who has no soul,” I replied with a laugh. Al and I continued to chat, and he never brought up my strange behavior during the rest of the trip. However, afterwords, during every conversation with Al, I could not help but wonder if the reason Al asked me that question was because he was perceptive, or because my inner thoughts had been written on my face. I feared the latter.
“Charlie do I seem preoccupied to you,” I ask my husband.
“No more than usual,” he replies, as he continues to flip through his magazine.
“What do you mean?”
Charlie opens his mouth to reply, but the airport loud-speaker interrupts him. The announcement mentions that the flight back to Boston is overbooked, and whoever is willing to give up their seat, will be given a night in a hotel, and they will also be able to fly back first class tomorrow. If I was the type of person who believed in signs, this would be defiantly be a sign. I try to hide my excitement as I say to Charlie, “ lets fly back tomorrow so that we can fly first class.”
“I can’t. You know I have an important meeting at work tomorrow.”
“Well I can. You know how much I hate flying coach.”
Charlie senses my excitement and tells me that when he married me he vowed never to get in the way of any of my dreams, even if my dream was for my butt to sit comfortably for 5 hours. “So, you don’t mind,” I ask.
“Go for it,” He replies. I rush to the place where I can exchange my ticket, and as I stand in line I remember how Amy Miller and I pledged to be friends for life.