Tuesday, November 25, 2008
POSTDATED: I wrote this a few weeks back en route to somewhere else. Just now getting around to posting it.
Last night, en route to dinner, I fumbled around in my bag hoping to find a pack of gum that I almost certainly had stashed there, but found none.
Returning late from a ride around (in) the Galaxy with the World's Best Mechanical Engineer, I discovered the missing pack of gum leaning against the outside of my hotel room door. It was accompanied by a scattering of sweet offerings: 3 peppermints, 2 tootsie roll tootsie pops (miniature pops: one orange, one raspberry) and 4 after dinner mints (the buttery kind) wrapped in convenience packs that read "Thank You!"
There was also a ballpoint pen, the cheap give away kind, imprinted with: "Springhill Suites". The hotel in question, the hotel where I discovered the curious offering, was not Springhill Suites. The pen was pink.
While deplaning from my San Francisco flight in the Minneapolis Airport I was chased down by a young man who shouted "Miss!" and handed me a thick wad of bills saying: "You dropped this."
But I hadn't. I counted them: $148. They were folded in half with the $20s on the outside and were flat and compact as if they had been compressed in a pocket. I studied them, as if the bills would reveal themselves as kin that belonged to me through some familiar marking. They didn't. I gave them to the gate agent, along with the worried "what do I do with money that isn't mine" expression that I had worn the moment before.
On the ground in Minneapolis waiting to disembark I received a text message from a friend. A friend of his had sent it to him and I could see from the metadata of the message that he had sent it on to two others as well. It contained the simple story line of a dream, of a car ride in a large front seat reminiscent of last night's Galaxy, a Bulgarian sandwich shop, and a friend who is now dead who said nothing but nodded and smiled and looked younger than his years.
For a flash I felt him beside me, solid, a seat mate tired from our transcontinental flight. A tear jumped up. Then it was my turn to exit the plane and I wiped my face dry.