I got sent somewhere...
...and trying to fly home got sucked into airport insanity of waiting for an hour and a half for our plane to arrive because there was an airport traffic jam. Had Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for supper and optimistically did not throw an overpriced beer back in the airport bar because my colleague had a long drive after and we would be home soon. Oh, foolish mortal!
The sweet dewy-faced boys in the line were sporting brand new Marine haircuts and purchasing their first "Hustler" magazines on their way to California for training and then Iraq. Sweet young men trying so hard to be naughty but still boys -- only one swipe of the razor older than my son. You shouldn't need to shoot no gun!
Marines go early, go deep, go often to a life of certain blood and endless nightmares and please, jen, look at me with the same eyes that twinkled at me before the distended bellies and crushed skulls and wide brown eyes of Somalia, before I broke my feet from walking in Saudi Arabia and look there's still that callous on my shoulder, and I saved the flag after everyone else was dead -- I wish I would have died but they gave me a medal and do you have an extra vicodin? and before I was a turret gunner in Vietnam and saw their faces when I shot them -- before that I wrote a perfect love sonnet for a girl but lost track of her during my tour. Look at me, please. Semper fi.
Semper fi. The terror alert has been raised to orange and I put my lotion and toothpaste in a ziploc bag to prove I'm not a terrorist. There is a traffic jam in the sky over Chicago so our plane is sitting on the tarmac in North Carolina for an hour and I am in the very back corner seat which doesn't recline rubbing my Saint Anthony medal -- patron of lost things and I am looking at these boys so that I can remember them in their civvies for the last time with their tough haircuts eating gummy bears and calling their girlfriends and their mommies while we wait for what happens next.
Later...we are circling over Chicago for an hour because of the air traffic jam. I am hunched over in a sitting fetal position so the blood can return to my ass and I see Orion the Hunter guarding the sky while the big dipper scoops up the phospherescent winter cloud cover and I think that the world is still so magic...
When we deplane everyone is sitting against the walls of O'Hare because there is such an inexplicable air traffic jam. (How can you possibly clog up the sky?) Everyone includes an Air Force regiment of 50 or so in sand camo and they look tired and anxious and I wish I could remember them from before tonight.
The PA reminds us that the terror level has been elevated to orange. I walk through endless hallways lined with tight, resigned faces to the El and on the train across from me a homeless man is snoring on his army-issued duffel bag and I wonder if anyone remembers him today or at seventeen. In my head I recite a Hail Mary.
Friday, January 19, 2007
I got sent somewhere...