I’m on my way back up to Queens and Malcolm will join me in a few days. This is the first leg of our trip on our way to be with Andrew in London and Paris over Mardi Gras.

I hit TSA pre-check, where the guards admonish people about what not to take off or out or your bag. So many rules to remember to forget. The last time I flew, I confessed to having a Loop monitor, along with the other people admitting to pacemakers, metal hips and prosthetic legs. I got patted down by a woman in rubbery gloves, around my bra, the suspicious underwire, between my legs; the hibernating long-ago violations, reawakened by touch. I wanted to tell her to fuck off, get the fuck off of me. Words I didn’t think were mine to use in the 70s and 80s when I needed them. Using them now would get me arrested.

This time I take my chances in the scanner, strike my X pose, arms up, legs spread, a frisk with no touching. It’s always a small thrill to make it through, to see my bags roll out of the yaw, to ace the sharp objects-food-liquids test. In my purse, I keep a vial of primrose oil for hot flashes.

Airports remind me how good it is to be a grownup woman, married and moving through space, about to buy a black coffee, a muffin and the NYT before I board. With a tail wind, New Orleans to New York takes two hours and change. In the waiting area, toddlers bolt for their freedom; batches of athletes travel in school colors; a masked Chinese woman contains her cough; fearful fliers read bible verses. So often, the person I stand behind in security ends up on my airplane. What blind improbable luck to have contact twice, a near friendship, but on this trip, I’ll be flying with just strangers. I text Malcolm: “Cross check, cabin door shut, on time arrival.”


Ink on cold pressed watercolor paper

22″ x 30″