Sunday, June 04, 2006


photo/collage by S. Auberle


The woman sat in the seat by the window.
I noticed her dark eyes right away. So much emotion
in them--what it was, I couldn't yet tell. Ordinarily
I don't talk much on planes, preferring my own
thoughts to chatter, but she looked lonely. The plane
was very cold, and she was trying to turn off the air
blowing over her from above. I reached up and closed
the vents.

We began to talk. Her English was difficult to
understand, though after several conversations, I
began to get it. The plane was already an hour late in
taking off, and she wanted to know the time now, being
concerned about the person meeting her. She apologized
for her English, and I asked her where she was from.
Yugoslavia, she said, but I live here, in this country
forty-five years now, though my English, it still isn't so good.

I asked who was meeting her in Phoenix, and she smiled
shyly, and almost blushing, said my new husband. He is just
one year older than me, seventy two. We are married now,
for only ten months. His wife, she died a while ago--cancer,
you know? And my neighbor, his sister, she brought us
together. Her eyes, face, her entire body lifted up, almost
shining in the light of that darkened plane. After I
congratulated her, it seemed like she needed to explain to
me that it was alright. For forty-five years I am alone,
first for my children, then my grandchildren. Now is time
for me? Of course, my ok wasn't needed, but she needed
her own ok, that was clear.

We sat then, most of the three hour flight, wrapped in blankets
and our own thoughts. The woman waiting, like an eager bride,
for her love to meet her. Me, the writer, thinking of the pure
poetry in those eyes.

This story is for old lovers, middle-aged ones, and especially
young ones, who think love ends at thirty, forty, whatever
age you fear. For those who believe a time alone will be
forever. It just ain't so. If you could look in this woman's
beautiful face, you would see a fire burning just as hot
as any young lovers. Love is for anyone, any age, with the
fierce courage it takes to listen to our ageless hearts and
then, with even more courage, to open them...

- mimi


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